26 Nov2006


Sigarillas, Sigadillas or Sigarilyas or Winged Beans (Psophocarpus tetrogonolobus) was another purchase in my market basket yesterday. A plant native siga2to Southern Europe (?!), this vegetable grows abundantly in Southeast Asia and its flavor suggests a hint of asparagus to some people. Almost squarish in shape, the “corners” have a frill that is perhaps the origin of the English name “winged beans.” I often see this bean in lengths of 6-8 inches or more and I always thought they were a bit tough… I read in my Encyclopedia of Asian Food and Cooking by Jacki Passmore that it should be harvested and consumed when it is NO MORE than 2.5 inches long… that would make sense to me as the texture would be softer/younger and the flavor more evocative of the asparagus…

I never really cooked this bean so I left it up to the cook to choose a recipe. siga3She decided to make it into a sigadillas torta with a bit of ground pork and lots of eggs. Frankly, this recipe drowned out a lot of the flavor of the sigarillas but I suppose one could argue it was a “better than not eating vegetables” recipe. You got many of the nutrients without the sometimes tough to take texture and flavor. I understand this vegetable is also sauteed along with some pork and sitaw and with coconut milk for a saucier preparation. Whatever the recipe, it’s a nice addition to the variety of vegetables available locally…



  1. Frances Magbual says:

    Marketman, in Guam we eat this pickled like green papaya. That’s my favorite way to eat this vegetable.

    Nov 26, 2006 | 1:30 pm


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  3. tulip aka pinaygourmand says:

    Marketman, winged beans actually originated from Africa though now it has shifted to Asia Pacific, it’s in most abundance in Papua New Guinea. And yes, try to get the small sigarilyas, it is more tasty. :)

    Nov 26, 2006 | 1:55 pm

  4. toping says:

    So this is the ‘sigarilyas’ in that “Bahay Kubo” song. (Guess this is one of those I’m-such-an-ignoramus days, hehe…)In the Visayas, we call this kalabantos. It’s great sauteed with a little pepper and soy sauce. My lola used to blanch them and serve with vinegar, ginger, tomatoes and onions. Yum!

    Nov 26, 2006 | 2:15 pm

  5. toping says:


    Why oh why do I always seem to get on the bad side of your spam filter? ;-0 It’s blocking my comments again.


    Nov 26, 2006 | 2:19 pm

  6. ThePseudoshrink says:

    Yes, sigarilyas is so much more delicious when “mura” (young?)—as opposed to “magulang.” I usually add this, plus “bataw,” to beef ribs sinigang.

    Nov 26, 2006 | 2:34 pm

  7. lee says:

    we call this veggie thing “balagay.” a good addition to “laswa.” yeah.. i love this

    Nov 26, 2006 | 2:42 pm

  8. shaider says:

    not another omelette

    Nov 26, 2006 | 2:45 pm

  9. wendell says:

    In ilocos, we pickle these with sukang iloko….

    Nov 26, 2006 | 3:04 pm

  10. Marketman says:

    Wendell, a pickle sounds interesting. Shaider, there are nearly 300 other recipes and 500+ other posts in the archives incase you were looking for somthing other than “another omelette”… they are just a few clicks away in the archives… lee, I have heard so much about this laswa and have never made it or tried it I think, Pseudoshrink, beef ribs sinigang…now that sounds good, tulip…cool how this stuff migrates throughout the planet… Frances, might you and wendell both be ilocanos??? :)

    Nov 26, 2006 | 3:26 pm

  11. Candygirl says:

    Hi MM, were you at Sidcor (Lung Center) this morning? There was this man with your description (perhaps it was all a fantasy) with his help carrying an old fashion bayong. I have never seen you in person but the first thing that came into mind when I saw this man was you :-) I failed to have a good look at his shoes, I’m sure I would’ve recognized those Italian driving shoes :-)

    Nov 26, 2006 | 4:36 pm

  12. wendell says:

    Just add a lot of garlic and salt on the sigarilyas (we call it pal-lang in ilocos) and sukang iloko mixture. MM, im from batac, ilocos norte by the way….

    Nov 26, 2006 | 4:42 pm

  13. elisha garcia-lirios says:

    sorry, i could not help but put in my two centavos worth on one of my favorite veggies. we usually cook sigarillas either ginisa, with the requisite hipon and a litte patis, or with ginataang kalabasa, the sigarillas replace sitaw. we usually remove the tough ends and slice them about a fourth of an inch diagonally. cook as you would ginataang kalabasa, making sure not to overcook the sigarillas.

    Nov 26, 2006 | 7:27 pm

  14. millet says:

    my mom used to cook it as ginisa, with ground pork and shrimps, while my waray mom-in-law cooked this as ginataan. the thais, however, have a hundred and one recipes for sigarillas, even raw, simply dipped in chili-bagoong.

    Nov 26, 2006 | 9:09 pm

  15. ntgerald says:

    It is a vegetable amenable to cooking by a number of ways.

    Laswa in Iloilo means a stew of vegetables so it can vary from household to household depending on whatever is available.

    My favorite way of cooking balagay is with kadyos and malunggay. You can add fish, shrimp, crabs as you like. Other vegetables may be added as well, like saluyot, okra, papaya, talong, kalabasa, and even ampalaya.

    Nov 26, 2006 | 9:21 pm

  16. Danney says:

    Hello Marketman, I was not able to blog for a while.My mother being a food lover and a chef just had a stroke on the eve of my birthday dinner, Nov 9th. She is doing fine and I’m flying back to Los Angeles on the 7th of Dec. I hope to see you all again in the next eyeball and hopefully it will be in June 2007, my next vacation in the Philippines.

    Nov 26, 2006 | 10:00 pm

  17. ykmd says:

    One of my favorite veggies! I used this in green thai curry and sinigang a couple weeks ago, but that was the only time ever that I’ve seen it here (it was in a Vietnamese-owned grocery).

    Nov 26, 2006 | 11:03 pm

  18. MRJP says:

    I love love love sigarilyas! I remember having ginataang sigarilyas in one of my classmates’ house back in college. It was great. I love this in pork sinigang too. I also love it blanched and dipped in chinese bagoong. I miss this a lot, I hope it is available in the US, too.

    Nov 27, 2006 | 7:18 am

  19. MRJP says:

    I was trying to post a comment but it failed. I love sigarilyas. Ginataan or blanched and dipped in chinese bagoong, or in pork or beef sinigang.

    Nov 27, 2006 | 7:21 am

  20. alicia says:

    I had a sigarilyas salad once, brought it to a barbecue in my grandmother’s house and since then all my relatives always ask for it. They simply love it in fact. Honestly,its good but not “to die for” (for me anyway). You might want to try it. Cut up the sigarilyas into bite size pieces. Blanch them. Then toss with red onions,chopped seeded tomatoes chopped ham, mayonaise, salt and pepper to taste. I also put fresh kalamansi juice on the chopped red onions before mixing them in to cut down the pungent onion taste. Its a good condiment for grilled meats.

    Nov 27, 2006 | 8:43 am

  21. awi says:

    there’s this lady at the salcedo market who cooks this as a ginataan ;-) love it love it love it!

    Nov 27, 2006 | 9:41 am

  22. HD says:

    My aunt made sigarillas salad(or was it picled sigarillas?) last time she visited. I remember it was made with blanched sigarillas, finely chopped ginger, salt, pepper and rice vinegar. I don’t remember if there was onions, but I guess it wouldn’t hurt to add it.

    Nov 27, 2006 | 9:58 am

  23. Cai- cupcakediva says:

    My mom puts sigarillas in her sinigang. That’s how we always eat it.

    Nov 27, 2006 | 12:19 pm

  24. miriam says:

    Hi MM! just wanted to share… I learned from a friend that it’s yummy to cook sigarillas in gata! Try it sometime, it’s quite easy to cook…just modify it to include other ingredients you want. :)

    Nov 27, 2006 | 12:50 pm

  25. anonymous paul says:

    i remember having a pretty good winged bean salad recently, just cant remember where. was something like a gadogado. very good.

    Nov 27, 2006 | 12:59 pm

  26. E C says:

    Had no idea ’bout the other recipes for sigarilyas. We just boiled/steamed these and dipped in pink “buro”. Yummy!

    Nov 27, 2006 | 3:47 pm

  27. choy says:

    my favorite “ensalada”. sigarilyas with onions, tomatoes, vinegar, salt and pepper. very simple but refreshing and tasty.

    Nov 27, 2006 | 6:43 pm

  28. Baki says:

    I have noticed that a lot of veggies here hang too long on the plant. Not only sigarilyas, but okra and kangkong as well. So they have lost the tenderness already, have to be cooked longer and so they lose flavour and nutrients. Is this to make “more” out of the veggies, or does it simply don’t matter to the growers (and cooks)?

    Nov 27, 2006 | 7:55 pm

  29. NYCMama says:

    This is my FAVORITE vegetable of all! When I go home to Manila, this is my one request, sigarillas sa gata. It is hard to find in NYC. I found it a few times in a Filipino grocery and a few times in a Chinese grocery in Queens, but that was many years ago. When I find several packs, I make “pakyaw” and buy them all, then just freeze them. I make it as spicy or mild depending on who is going to eat with me. I bought some seeds and asked my brother to try to grow it in NJ, but he has not been successful (he’s had success with ampalaya!)

    Nov 27, 2006 | 10:55 pm

  30. Kristine says:

    I love guinataang sigarilyas.ü i use tinapa as sahog instead of ground pork for a “meatless” fix. Absolutely wonderful.

    Nov 28, 2006 | 1:11 am

  31. Maria Clara says:

    We use young sigarilyas in our pinakbet and sinigang na baboy.

    Nov 28, 2006 | 2:36 am

  32. Den says:

    My dad also cooks pinakbet w/ sigarilyas. I would love to try making a sigarilyas salad(as mentioned numerous times above).

    Nov 28, 2006 | 4:24 am

  33. connie says:

    My mom prepares sigarilyas so many different ways. Steamed or boiled, halves then cut thinly and mixed with other veggies for salad. Also ginataan, pinakbet or simply boiled with your choice of sawsawan. Dad however makes a really good adobong sigarilyas but he picks the young ones for that, and usually slices them thinly to cook well.
    We grew them in the backyard and I used to love the smell of a dried sigarilyas and when you shake them you could hear the seeds rattling inside. *giggles*

    Nov 29, 2006 | 1:52 pm

  34. Rocky says:

    Finally found time to read through your archives. Wish I could do what you do all day.
    We cook sigarilyas with shrimp in gata, a bit like sitaw in gata. If you keep the sigrailyas crunchy, it’s really good.

    Jan 10, 2007 | 4:29 pm

  35. palengkera says:

    I’ll have sigarilyas any day anytime but it is so rare here in Davao.

    Sep 28, 2007 | 4:01 pm

  36. Pete Barrameda says:

    Want to know the other tagalog name for sigarilyas and where can i buy the to grow in florida. thanks for any help.

    May 4, 2008 | 10:01 am

  37. Liz says:

    Hi, Wondering if I can buy some seeds from you. Please e-mail me back. This is one of my favorite vegetables and I would like to grow them here in California. thank you in advance.

    Sep 19, 2008 | 12:48 pm

  38. tin says:

    my fave is wen its added to bicol express! saraaaapp !…
    we just had a debate awhile about wats d visayan name for sigarillas.. and because of that, someone will be dancing!!!
    mabuhay and sigarillas!!!

    Oct 25, 2008 | 10:08 pm

  39. TETH says:

    Hmm paborito ko iyan with malunggay na may gata plus fried fish & white rice! YUmmy!

    Feb 25, 2009 | 1:22 pm

  40. Nick LD says:

    so called sigarilyas sa tagalog…pero sa amin sa Palocpoc, kalamismis iyon!…hehehe

    Apr 3, 2009 | 12:55 pm

  41. paeng says:

    Sigarilyas is sooo good when combined in a tamarind based broth/soup.. It’s delish on a sinigang na hipon or baboy..

    Jun 9, 2009 | 3:44 pm

  42. Pio M. Sian, M.D. says:

    Dear MM,
    Take it from an OT (32 years in FL and 10 yrs all over). In
    places where sigarilyas are grown heavily, the seeds are dried and ground into flour. This is the only legume with higher protein content than Soy beans. Every part of the plant is edible.
    Leaves and stems are “gulay”, root has a corm that taste like Jicama (singkamas).Although it is native of Africa,
    it is grown in tropical Asia, but may have undergone mutation as Philippine variety is long and spindly while the Papuan
    variety is short, stocky and get fibrous early. Yes it grows in FL from March to Dec. Also seeds can roasted and ground up
    makes excellent “ersatz” coffee. Thanks.

    Jul 15, 2009 | 11:06 am

  43. Julia Manrique says:

    Hi there! I would like to ask if you know any place in the Philippines that plants sigarilyas? We need it for our Bicol Express in can! the first one in can! tnx!-julia, moondish@gmail.com

    Sep 14, 2009 | 6:07 pm


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