Tapilan / Rice Beans


“It tastes better than monggo, and it’s native…”, said Gil Carandang of Herbana Farms. So how could I resist? In fact, I had a recipe in mind, so I bought everything he had in stock, just 750 grams, tapilan2freshly harvested and extracted from their pods. These tapilan beans, otherwise known as rice beans (their resemblance to rice is apparent, and they are often eaten together with or in lieu of rice), are believed to be native to Southeast Asia, and at one time, were far more common than the imported and now readily grown mung beans. Vigna umbellata or Phaseolus calcaratus are extremely nutritious and though they are quite difficult to find these days, some renewed interest globally in the legume is growing for the same reason that farro and other “ancient” grains are getting more attention…

I had never heard of tapilan prior to this find and a little googling has not yielded a whole lot of information on it. There was one interesting link that I found, and it is tapilan3apparently consumed in Japan…and from there to parts of Southeast Asia and on to India. As with mung beans, it would seem to be to be rather laborious to harvest and extract the beans, which range from a light brown color to nearly black. The beans are more oblong in shape and do, in fact look a bit like rice when cooked. I figured since it was a bean and nutritious protein, it would be a great “local” ingredient in my low carb meals at the moment… At PHP200 a kilo, about PHP70 worth in the glass bowl above, it is about 2.5x the cost of mung beans. I suppose it would be hard to justify that price except that it is unusual, it is organic and it is likely a plant that originated in this part of the world and ultimately, it tastes pretty good to me…yup, I would gladly pay that difference in cost…


4 Responses

  1. They would in theory, be selling them at a loss, since they could be getting more for them in a different venue… I suppose they are high in protein as with other legumes, but yes, they do have starch, carbs and worse, a lot of sugar.

  2. hmmm, interesting. i’ll try and look for them here in japan. when you go to a natural food restaurant here, sometimes you get a choice of brown rice or rice with a lot of grains and seeds like barley, millet, soba, black soy beans, etc., mixed in it….i wonder if rice beans is one of them?????

  3. At a local market, some actually sells it as monggo. “All kinds of monggo” are placed in a separate tupperware like containers.Ask the vendor and she’ll just say those are monggo-red,green etc. hehehe There are tapilan that are redder, and that I can mistakenly identity as azuki beans(popular in Japan).
    MM, I just observed that your latest posts are mostly beans. Uric acid level alert. hehehe

  4. I bought some of these at a market in Batangas for the same price as monggo. I cooked them almost like monggo, and reserved some for mashing into a sweet paste for something like mochi.



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