Sesquipedalian, Not Truly Yard-Long
Not Just for Halloween
Yard Long Beans, known in China as Dou Jiano and in Indian cuisine as Barbatti and other names according to dialect are actually not truly a yard long. Their Latin name Sesqipedalia, literally half-a-gad long, is more accurate, as they are usually about 18 inches long.
Pumpkins, too, are not limited only to Halloween, but are a common vegetable in many Pacific Rim cuisines. Here’s a Siogaporean recipe that combines these two popular Southeastern Asian vegetables in a quick Curry.
This is one of the Singaporean dishes with a Malay or Indonesian flavor, in this case the basic influence is probably Indonesian
Yard Long Beans and Pumpkin Curry
½ pound Yard Long Beans
½ pound Pumpkin
1½ teaspoon Black Pepper corns
2 teaspoons Shrimp Sauce, Belachan
10 small onions
3 tablespoons Dried Shrimp, optional
2 cups Water
2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
½ teaspoon Salt, or to tast
First wash the Beans and Pumpkin. Cut the Beans into small sections about an inch long and cut the Pumpkin into bite-size pieces. Set aside.
Wash the Dried Shrimp. Soak them in a few tablespoons of hot Water for a few minutes to soften them and set aside while grinding the spice mixture.
Grind the Black Pepper and chopped Onions, and add the Shrimp Sauce.
When ready to cook, heat the Oil in a pan and fry the ground Mixture a few seconds, then add the Dried Shrimp, if using, and fry for a minute or so until they release their fragrance.
Add the Water and a pinch of Salt and bring to a boil.
Then add the chopped Vegetables and cook until they are tender. I like to use a skewer to test the tenderness. The Beans will be done first, and it will take about 7 or 8 minutes until the Pumpkin pieces are tender and ready to serve.
You can make this without the Dried Shrimps for a pure vegetarian dish. Also, if you prefer a hotter dish, ou can substitute Dried Red Chilies for part or all of the Black Pepper for a more pungent Curry.