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Parda, Hyacinth bean


Parda, Hyacinth bean

I’m in Austin, Texas this week for an herb conference. It just wrapped up and today explored Georgetown with my father. As we were walking downtown he spotted a familiar plant from the Philippines called Parda growing so magnificent on a sidewalk fence. He was so excited to see it…. so we picked a few.


Common Names

Bataw, Egyptian Bean, Hyacinth Bean, Field Bean, Indian bean, Lablab Bean, Musical Bean, Tonga Bean, Sweet Pulse and Wild Bean.


The plant is tropical and widely grown in North Africa and Asia. It is a twining or trailing herb. The pods are 4 to 5 cm long. It is used for vegetable use. It has strong nutty aroma and sweet flavor. There are four varieties of Hyacinth beans such as: White Flower, Purple Flower, Asia Purple and Asia White.

Health Use Today

Hyacinth Bean contains various nutrients, minerals, vitamins and lipids that help to enhance the overall health. As medicine it helps to reduce fever, reduce flatulence, and stimulate digestion. Flowers can be eaten raw or steamed. It’s ornamental here but food in native Philippines.

For healthier digestion, stir fried hyacinth beans can really make digestion smooth! Traditional Chinese Medicine uses the beans to keep the spleen healthy. The herb is also known to treat diarhea, nausea, distended stomach, intestinal, worms and flatulence.

How to take Parda

Parda is popularly used in a Filipino dish called Pinakbet. Pinakbet is made from mixed vegetables steamed in fish or shrimp sauce.

Aside from the main parda courses like Pinakbet, when I want a quick fix of it, I simply blanch/boil it in a few minutes and make it into a Parda salad with the inevitable tomato slices and salt. Just don’t overboil it, a blanch is all that you need to assure you of its crispness and sweetness. Parda salad is most delicious and effective–like most veggies intended for ensalada/kinilnat/linayet–if it’s freshly picked.

So if you have a parda plant right where you are, set some water to boil first, then go pick parda in the vine, then blanch it immediately when the water is bubbling, enjoy the ensalada.

Just a caution: mature or dry beans must not be eaten raw. They have to be cooked. That means boiling soft raw mature beans or roasting as heat drives away the toxin. If they have dried — read they are hard — that means soaking overnight then boiling them a long time in a lot of water. Or, boil unsoaked dry beans in a lot of water twice. Actually, that is what one often has to so with many dried beans. And the older any bean is the longer you have to cook it.

My Personal Journey

Parda is part of the Filipino food culture, more so, it is part of the famous nursery rhymes/song called Bahay Kubo, which means Nipa Hut.

Here’s a look at the lyrics:

Bahay Kubo (Nipa Hut)

Bahay kubo, kahit munti
Ang halaman doon ay sari-sari.
Singkamas at talong, sigarilyas at mani
Sitaw, bataw, patani.
Kundol, patola, upo’t kalabasa
At saka mayroon pang labanos, mustasa,
sibuyas, kamatis, bawang at luya
sa paligid-ligid ay puro linga!

Here’s the translation:
Nipa Hut, though very modest
have many and various plants.
Jicama and eggplant, winged beans and peanuts
long beans, parda, kidney beans
winter melon, sponge gourd, bottle gourd and squash
and there are also radishes, mustard
onions, tomatoes, garlic and ginger
and all around, there are sesame!

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