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Thai Stink Beans and Shrimp Recipe (วิธีทำ กุ้งผัดสะตอ)

One of the most beloved of all the dishes from the south of Thailand is a dish called goong pad sataw (กุ้งผัดสะตอ), which is stink beans stir fried with southern Thai curry paste. Stink beans (สะตอ), which are also known as petai, bitter beans, or cluster beans, are popularly eaten throughout the islands of southeast Asia, in Indonesia, Malaysia, and southern Thailand. For myself, they are one of my favorite things to eat in the world, especially when stir fried with shrimp and curry paste. Hope you enjoy this recipe, it's a true local southern Thai dish, and one of my favorite dishes in all of Thailand.

Author: Mark Wiens ( Recipe type: Thai Recipe Cuisine: Southern Thai food Serves: 1 plate


  • 400 grams shrimp (you can also make this recipe with chicken or pork)

  • 2 - 3 heaping tbsp southern Thai curry paste (recipe here)

  • 1 cup of shelled stink beans (I used 6 pods, and you can use more or less)

  • ½ tsp shrimp paste

  • ½ tbsp oyster sauce

  • ½ tbsp sugar (This is the Thai way, but I like to use less or none)

  • 6 - 8 kaffir lime leaves

  • 2 tbsp oil for frying


  1. The first step is to make a batch of southern Thai curry paste, or if you already have some on hand (homemade or from a can / bottle) you can get started on the next steps right away.

  2. Prepare the shrimp by taking off the head and peeling the shell, and then devein them. If you want to prepare your shrimp Thai style, peel the body, but leave the tail on.

  3. Stink beans grow in a long twisted hard pods, so the first thing to do is peel the stink beans out of the outer shell. The skin is quite tough so it’s easiest to take a sharp knife and slice the bean, almost in half first. Then peel back the skin and remove the stink bean inside. You’ll also see an inner, beige colored skin that coats the stink beans, and you want to remove that too. Go through all the pods and remove all the stink beans - this will probably take a few minutes. If you haven't watched the video yet, make sure you watch it for a better explanation of how to peel the stink beans. That’s all for the prep work, it’s time to get stir frying.

  4. Put your wok or frying pan on a medium heat and add about 2 tbsp of oil. I normally like to use less oil when I stir fry Thai food, but with this stink bean curry recipe, you really need to add some oil so the curry paste gets nice and fragrant when frying and doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

  5. When your oil is sizzling hot, add in the curry paste, first start with 2 tbsp. - you can always come back and add more later if it's not flavorful enough. Then add about ½ tsp of shrimp paste.

  6. Stir fry the curry paste, working it into the oil, and scraping it off the bottom of the pan. Immediately you should start to smell those beautiful chilies, the lemongrass and the turmeric. Keep stir frying for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, making sure the paste doesn't burn, but is nice and fragrant.

  7. Add the shrimp, and stir fry continuously for about 30 seconds. The shrimp should pretty quickly start to turn from transparent to pink orange in color. If the curry paste starts to get dry, you can toss in a splash of water, and that should give you some liquid to work with as well as a little extra sauce.

  8. Then toss in the stink beans, and stir fry for about another 30 seconds or so. You want to keep frying hard so the curry paste doesn't stick to the pan.

  9. Season with ½ tbsp of oyster sauce and ½ tbsp of sugar (the normal Thai way is to use sugar, so I showed it this way in the recipe, BUT, when I cook it myself I normally omit the sugar or use just a tiny bit - so up to you how much sugar you want to add).

  10. Again, if your goong pad sataw (กุ้งผัดสะตอ) get's dry, add another splash of water, and then stir fry for just another minute.

  11. The final step is to take 6 - 8 kaffir lime leaves, and tear them off the stems directly into the curry. When you tear the kaffir lime leaves, it will release their flavor. Stir fry for just 10 seconds, and then turn off the heat.

  12. Immediately dish it onto a serving plate, and you're ready to start eating.

Notes Before you start cooking, you might want to begin by putting on a fresh pot of rice to start steaming. That way, as soon as you're done cooking, you'll be ready to dig in!

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