Monday, September 16, 2013

What is that Beautiful Purple Bean?!

Hyacinth Bean or Lablab pureus, or as more commonly known in Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago as the SIEM BEAN!

We first grew this amazing flowering vine when I collected some seeds from my favorite guerillas garden down the street from my house. I saw the vine grown year after year, and couldn't help but grow it at the farm as well. The next year after we grew the plant, I brought a few to the dedicated and talented gardeners. They told me it was suri and that they had brought the seeds with them from Bangladesh. 

The next year Molly planted them for the amazing orchid looking flowers! I had forgotten about them as a culinary delight until one of our wonderful teachers Nirvani Bissessar was walking around one day and asked for some, commenting that they were a staple in Guyana. 

... and so now we share them with you. 

Make sure you cook the beans well, and change the water too. If they are under-cooked they can be toxic. The whole plant is edible, the leaves can be cooked like spinach or eaten raw, and the roots can also be chopped up or pureed.