Okinawa Tourism Information:Series/IslandBlessing,IslandTastePart19WingedBean

Series / Island Blessing, Island Taste Part 19 Winged Bean

post : 2016.04.26 03:00

This unique shaped winged bean is on the market from the summer to the end of fall. It is called “Urizun Mame” in Okinawa, and it is a familiar ingredient to Okinawan locals.

When I saw it for the first time, I felt like encountering a mysterious thing more than surprising. 

I was not sure how to cook it, so it took me a while to made me purchasing it. One day, my husband bought it at a market, so I cooked it for the first time. It was actually easier to cook than I thought, so it turned out as a versatile vegetable at my house since then, and I cook it many times.

Winged bean is about 20 cm / 7.8 in long, and shape of the cross-section reminds of lovely stars. Its taste is similar to kidney bean or podded pea. Since it is vine, it is popular vegetable as green curtain for home garden next to goya (bitter melon). I used to cultivate winged bean when I had a garden at our house, and it was an excellent vegetable.  

It contains nutrients including vitamin C, vitamin K, and carotene. Also, it has antioxidant properties, so it is good to eat winged bean.

However, every time I purchase winged bean at a market, local people often ask me 

“How do you eat it?”

Winged bean has peas in a pod, and it can be cooked in various ways. This time, I will give you 2 recipes for cooking wing bean.

First, a marinated food which is perfect for a lunch box or a side dish.

“Wing Bean Marinated with Dried Plum without Pulp” 

I have plenty of dried plums at my house. Every year I start to pickle plums before the rainy season starts, let them dry under the summer sunshine, and make dried plum.

Boil winged bean lightly, dip it into ice water, and make sure to dry it off. Prepare chunks of winged bean, dried plum without pulp, and soy sauce. Then, add all of them into seasoning with a soup stock and marinate. Actually, it is easy to cook.

Finally, sprinkle black sesame over the dish and finish.

When I cooked it for my daughter’s lunch box, her homeroom teacher said,

“It is delicious! I will cook it next time!”

My daughter was happy to hear that, so please try cooking it.

Next, the 2nd dish is “Winged Bean Irichii.” It could be the main dish, and “irichii” means stir-fried dish in Okinawa.

There are any ways to call stir-fired dish of Okinawa. The names are;

“Champroo,” “tashiya,” “n’bushi,” and “irichii.”

And, there are fine lines between them.

Champroo is originated from a Chinese dish named “炒腐児.” “腐” means tofu, so it is the stir-fried dish with tofu.

Tashiya is the stir-fried dish with somen (thin white noodles), rice, or starchy food. For example, “Somin Tashiya.”

N’bushii is the stir-fried then boiled dish such as “Nabera N’bushi.” Ingredients that contain moisture are used to cook this type of dish, and flavored with miso paste or others. 

And, I am going to explain about “irichi.” Stir-fry all the ingredients, and then add stock soup and mixed seasoning.

This is a dish which used “garlic with meat and miso paste.” The garlic is made by Bansyo Momoto-an in Uruma City where I live.

Put oil in a pan, and add chopped garlic and red pepper to coax out flavor. Next, add lightly boiled winged bean, shake a pot a little, add 1 teaspoon of meat and miso paste and 1 teaspoon of soup stock, and put all of them in the pot.

After mixing and stir-frying them, serve them on a plate, and done.

The crunchy texture and flavor of garlic and rich flavor of meat and miso paste go well, and this is good enough to eat.

Winged bean is used as an ingredient of soup in other Asian countries. You can also cut it thin and decorate it on top of salad. It is the ingredient to help for creativity.

“Wing Bean Marinated with Dried Plum without Pulp” (4 people) 


*1 pack of winged bean
*A pinch of salt
*1 teaspoon of soy sauce
*1 dried plum
*Black sesame


1. Add salt into boiled water, boil winged bean lightly and put it into ice water right away.
2. Take a stone out of plum and hit the plum with a knife finely. Then, mix plum and soy sauce.
3. Mix 2 and dried 1, serve them on a plate, and sprinkle black sesame on top of them.

“Winged Bean Irichi – Garlic with meat and miso paste flavor –” (4 people) 


*2 packs of winged bean
*A pinch of salt
*10g / 0.3oz of Garlic
*Red pepper (as you like)
*Canola oil
*1 teaspoon of garlic with meat and miso paste
*1 teaspoon of soup stock



1. Add salt into boiled water, boil winged bean lightly and put it into ice water. Let winged bean cool down a little bit then dry.
2. Put oil in a pan, and add chopped garlic and red pepper to coax out flavor.
3. Put dried winged bean in the same pan, add mixed seasoning (garlic with meat and miso paste and soup stock), mix all of them, and serve them on a plate.

*Besides garlic with meat and miso paste, you can also enjoy the taste of ingredients by simply stir-frying them with garlic, red pepper, and salt. Please have a try at it when you can. 

Okinawa CLIP Photo Writer monobox (Tetsumasa and Kozue Kono)