Goong pad sator - Bitter beans stir-fried with shrimp paste and prawns

This speedy recipe for goong pad sator, or bitter beans stir fried with shrimp paste and prawns from John Chantarasak is a delicate balance of hot, sour, salt and sweet flavours. Serve with plenty of steamed white rice

First published in 2022
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Sator or stink beans are ubiquitous in Southern Thailand and can be found in a number of the specialty dishes of the region. They are similar in appearance to a broad bean or edamame, and have a powerful flavour that’s pungent and bitter. Because of this, sator beans can be paired alongside other strong flavours like chilli, garlic and shrimp paste. Sator beans can be found in Asian supermarkets, but if you are unable to find them you could use fresh broad beans or edamame beans instead.






Peel and remove the veins from the prawns, leaving the tails intact for presentation, if you wish. Place the prawn shells and heads in a tight fitting saucepan, cover with water and bring to a quick boil over a high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes


Skim any scum from the top of the prawn stock then pass through a sieve, pressing down the shells and heads with the back of a spoon to extract maximum flavour. Discard the shells and heads and set the stock aside


In a stone pestle and mortar, pound the chillies, garlic, coriander root and salt to a coarse paste. Add the shrimp paste and continue to work into the other ingredients. Set aside


Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a rapid boil over a high heat. Add the stink/sator beans and blanche for 30 seconds before straining and refreshing with cold water. Drain well

  • 5 tbsp of stink beans, peeled

Heat the vegetable oil in a wok over a medium heat, then add the paste and stir-fry for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the peeled prawns, blanched stink/sator beans and torn lime leaves. Stir-fry together until the prawns are just cooked and have turned to an attractive pink colour, around 3 minutes


Moisten with 5-6 tablespoons of the reserved prawn stock and season with the caster sugar, 1 teaspoon of the fish sauce and lime juice. Check for seasoning, and add more fish sauce if necessary - it should taste hot and umami salty. Transfer to a serving dish and eat with steamed rice

First published in 2022

John is the co-founder cookery project and soon-to-be restaurant AngloThai.

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