Sitaw, Bataw at Patani / Yard Long, Lablab & Lima Beans


I had several interesting finds at the market yesterday, from the mundane to the highly unusual. This trio of beans from that memorable line in the “Bahay Kubo” song bean2are sitaw, bataw and patani. Photographed together, they resulted in a terrific still life, and it never ceases to amaze me how beautiful and colorful fresh produce can be. While they might be considered everyday items at the market, not many people know much about each bean and rarely do households these days typically use all three on a regular basis. For me, the most common and used in our household is definitely sitaw or yard long beans. I buy this practically every week at the market and it might end up in a rich and delicious sitaw at kalabasa dish with gata (coconut milk), or in a soup, or perhaps even a curry. I like the texture of this bean when just cooked; it “fights” with you as you chew it. Extremely economical, and I presume highly nutritious, it goes a long way in several Pinoy dishes. Even just sautéed with some pork and patis (fish sauce) it tastes good to me…

The second bean is bataw or lablab or hyacinth bean (lablab purpureus) which is a greenish bean pod with purplish tinge that is typically soldin local markets in an “immature” bean3stage, to be used whole as a vegetable. It is included by some folks in their pinakbet, for example. I understand the mature beans dried are either white,or very dark, almost black. They have to be boiled and cooked well to remove some natural toxins. Believed to have originated somewhere in Asia or Africa, it now grows in many parts of the world, often raised for its foliage and flowers as an ornamental plant in the West, but mainly as food in Asia, India and Africa. The seeds can also be ground into flour and used to make bread or a porridge type concoction.

Finally, the last picture here is of patani or lima (Phaseolus lunatus) beans. These beans are already peeled or taken out of their large green pods. They had some still in their pods but they were strung up into a huge bean necklace and the vendors wanted bean4too much money for them so I settled for the peeled version. The lima bean is believed to be native to Peru and dates back to 7000 BC in archeological sites, according to Alan Davidson in his book, The Oxford Companion to Food. Also referred to as “butter beans” in some parts of the United States, and Madagascar beans in other parts of the world, this versatile bean can be used in soups, boiled and mashed into a spread, etc. Frankly, I don’t know how to use this bean or even the bataw in very many ways… I am curious how you guys use either the bataw or patani…


25 Responses

  1. Lima beans are good just lightly steamed and buttered. Also can be combined with corn niblets, diced onions and diced red peppers for side dish. May be also cooked with bacon or salt pork.

  2. I only tried bataw recently when one of the helpers took a vacation and came back with it, she grows them. She either steams it or stir fries it in butter. I remember my lola bakes Lima beans with ground pork or just boils it. My mom used to have a version with Lima beans & potato casserole-baked with mirepoix, roux, chicken, mushroom, corn kernels etc.

  3. My mother used to saute the bataw (we call them “bule maluto giling” or beans with red piping in Pampango) with shrimps and a little pork fat and that’s it. They are yummy served with steamed rice and fried fish, especially the young and tender beans. You can either julien them or slice in half depending on their size. You also have to string them just like you do to dwarf beans.

    The patani are included in a soup we call “sabo kamatis at babi” or tomato soup with pork. This is pork sauted in garlic, onion, ripe tomatoes, slices of pork shoulder or spare ribs if you like, then cabbage quartered is added. The patani are a nice addition to this very nice soup. And to make the soup a little sweeter, we also add cubed sweet potatoes.

  4. MM, do you know where I could purchase edamame beans, I’m not so sure of the name. . . this beans is what the Japanese have for “pulutan” it’s a good beer match. . .

  5. Bataw is used in sinigang. Patani is used in vegetable stew, laswa in Iloilo; that would be diningding in Ilocos/northern Luzon.

    I like patani cooked with okra and/or saluyot, malunggay, and talong (and whatever else is fresh) with shrimp. Patani has a lovely fragrant scent, especially the ones with color mottlings on them.

  6. those are very nice-looking patane..i hardly see them here in davao. they would be good in beef-vegetable soups. wil-b, a local farm (in davao) produces edamame so it’s available in our local groceries. i would imagine some folks from tagaytay or batangas would have them, too.

  7. Any Ilocanos know about Karkardis? My mom loves them. Not sure what the English name would be if there is one.

    Edamame are Soy Beans in English, and are some of the only food with complete protein, meaning all the amino-acids neccesary. So eat up!

  8. Your post makes me crave for patani! It’s one of my favorite vegetables. Patani to me is synonymous to “bule baluga”. However, the two are cooked in different ways since bule baluga is an older version and type of lima beans. The sitaw, bataw and patani can be cooked in one dish. You can even add squash to it. They’re very versatile and can go with any vegetables used in pinakbet or dinengdeng. In Pampanga, we often cooked them in sauteed garlic, onions, fish sauce, pork or and fried fish. My grandmother usually use fried milkfish. After sauteeing, you just have to the veggies and let it simmer until cooked and just season with salt.

    On the other hand, the bule baluga is cooked with tomatoes and pork. Just the thought of that dish makes me rush to the market and buy lima beans. To explain how it’s cooked, I found a site of a food blogger who I think is also a Kapampangan. I encourage you to try the dish and experiment. Here’s the site –

    Btw, Market Man was mentioned in the comment. ;-)

  9. I just blend canned lima beans with herbs, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil, then serve with freshly-baked pita chips. It’s great to find out how it can be used in many Pinoy dishes.
    I love edamame. I buy it here in HK frozen then just boil or steam it for 5-6 minutes, remove from the pod, and munch like chips. A truly nutritious and delish snack.

  10. The patani looks great! I have never had it but I love beans and these look similar to the ones I had in spain that were lightly sauteed with bacon…yum! I have to get myself some patani and see if I can replicate that…

  11. Sitaw is the workhorse of all the beans. Kare kare is not a kare kare to me without sitaw. Just boil them with bagoong and crushed garlic is delicious. Boiled or steamed sitaw with grilled fish and spiced vinegar and sautéed bagoong is to die for. In any sinigang could be added attraction for texture and flavor.

  12. Hi Mr. MM,
    In pampanga, we call patani “BULE BALUGA”, thats because most of the beans are sold by natives (BALUGA). At home we cook pork sinigang with patani, we only use tomatoes to flavor the sinigang. You just have to boil patani together with the pork and just cook as you do with normal sinigang, but this type of sinigang is not that sour but its really really good.Dont forget to add pechay…Hope you try this!!!Thanks.

  13. Market Man, Although I love your whole blog, posts such as this one are my favorite kind. You may have solved the mystery of the beans growing in my friends’ backyard. They are renting a house from a Filipino gentleman and there is a bean growing there that had us all stumped. Their landlord told them it was edible, but didn’t give any other information. My husband is Ilocano, but he was not familiar with the plant. Thanks to your post, I believe the mystery is solved.

  14. my husband’s family love to add patani seeds with ginataang langka and balat ng kalabaw! Every time we’re in Albay (2nd district),iyan ang request niya. Sa side namin (1st district), we don’t have them, that’s why i find it difficult to eat their favorite food, “langka” na lang sa akin.

  15. oh so patani is lima beans in English… haha. Now i know… but isn’t patani seed/bean coating supposed to be violet with white stripes (or the other way around)… Isn’t the picture of patani here, bataw beans or it’s just the same?

  16. Iya patani can have variegated colored skins as well. But these patani are the lima beans in English. Bataw are the other, unpeeled beans in the photo. They are not the same as patani.

  17. My lola always added bataw to sinigang.
    Patani could be included in bulanglang which is a mixture of veggies. Lola’s version had sitaw,bataw and patani with some squash flowers.She was from Cavite but I don’t know if it was a Cavitena dish.Delish because of the squash flowers. Looked like a relative of the pinakbet.

    I enjoyed removing the cover of the patani. You pinch it at the inner part and peel off like a ‘plastic’ cover.

  18. i love every single vegetable in your picture. the dried lima beans in the US are different though – they are white instead of green – not sure if they are the same variety.



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