SITAW (Sitao) Everyday

I used to say I could live off sitaw everyday; it’s my favorite vegetable. Plus, I know MANY ways of preparing it: boiled, stir-fried with garlic,  blanched and slathered with oyster sauce, batter-fried, adobado, and included in dishes like sinigang, kare-kare, bulanglang.

Sitaw is known in many markets as yard-long beans.  Its scientific name, vigna unguiculata, subspecies sesquipedalis, means something else. Let’s break down that last Latin word: pedalis means “foot;” sesqui means “six.”

What it’s saying is that the yard-long bean is a foot and six inches long — 18 inches, give or take.  Certainly not a yard long!

 photo GardenPictures295.jpghttp://s114.photobucket.com/user/zeedman/media/GardenPictures295.jpg.html

The more appropriate monikers would be Chinese long beans, Asian beans, long podded cowpea and — here’s another name that seems inappropriate — asparagus bean. The plant that bears the sitaw is nowhere fern-like, as the asparagus is. Therefore, I have to dig further as to how that last name came about.

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kitchenproject.com/history/Asparagus/Asparagus300x400

I would venture that the name sitaw was adapted from the bean’s Chinese name, Dou Jiao.

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