August 31, 2021

Winged Bean Garlic Stir Fry 蒜蓉炒翼豆

Winged Bean, Garlic, Stir Fry, Chinese, recipe,  stir fry, 蒜蓉, 炒翼豆

 Have you ever seen a bean with wings?  Or wings with a bean?  No?  Well then, I am very pleased to introduce you to the fabulous Winged Bean 翼豆!  We discovered these strange beans in the wet market the other day.  So funny looking with four little wing like corners on each bean. Never seen them before but the vegetable lady assured us that they were quite delicious.  

Excited as always to try a new veggie, we scooped up a bag full to take home.  True to the vegetable lady's advice a very simply prepared Winged Bean Stir Fry was delicious: kissed with fragrant garlic, these stir fried beans were tender yet still lightly crunch with a sweet light flavor reminiscent of green peas and snow peas.

Winged Bean, Garlic, Stir Fry, Chinese, recipe,  stir fry, 蒜蓉, 炒翼豆

The winged bean itself is so interesting.  A four dimensional bean in that it has four clearly defined corners!  Inside the center of all the corners is the tiny bean.  A strange and beautiful bean.

Flora Filipinas by Francisco Manuel Blanco, between 1880-1883

The winged bean is also known as cigarillas, goa bean, four-angled bean, four-cornered bean, manila bean, princess bean, asparagus bean and dragon bean.  So many names!  I think that is because this plant is cultivated in so many different places.  

Did you know that this little bean with wings is considered something of a super food?  All its parts from flowers to leaves to pod to root and seeds can be eaten and it is a virtual supermarket of goodness providing a rich source of protein, vitamins and minerals all in one go.

Winged Bean, Garlic, Stir Fry, Chinese, recipe,  stir fry, 蒜蓉, 炒翼豆

Following our veggie lady's suggestion we prepared some freshly minced garlic.  It's a wonder what the simple addition of garlic can do for a dish.  Team Garlic, score!!

Winged Bean, Garlic, Stir Fry, Chinese, recipe,  stir fry, 蒜蓉, 炒翼豆

The prep for the winged bean is super simple.  Wash.  Snap of the stem.  Slice to size desired, in this case we sliced each bean into thirds for the stir fry.  Ready to stir fry!

By the way these winged beans are yummy raw as well.  Slice em up thin and toss in a salad for some crunchy goodness.

Winged Bean, Garlic, Stir Fry, Chinese, recipe,  stir fry, 蒜蓉, 炒翼豆

An explanation here.  Because we were taking photos.  And because stir fries are meant to be furiously fast and fabulous creations.  And because my 老公 likes his heat super hot.  These facts all collided and resulted in slightly over browned minced garlic.  In the recipe we explain a slightly different, less furiously paced approach to help avoid these situations.

Simple and delicious.  And super good for you in all kinds of ways.  This is totally my kind of veg!

Winged Bean, Garlic, Stir Fry, Chinese, recipe,  stir fry, 蒜蓉, 炒翼豆
Winged Bean Garlic Stir Fry Recipe

Prep time: 3 mins  Cook time: 2 mins



Wash winged beans.  Pluck off stem, then slice the beans into thirds.  Peel garlic.  Reserve one garlic clove and mince the rest.  Smash the reserved garlic clove with the side of your knife. (Or sometimes I use the end of my rolling pin, that works well.)

Mix cornstarch and water in small bowl.

Heat wok over high heat.  When you can see the heat rising from wok add in the oil.  Add in the smashed garlic clove and use spatula to move it around, pressing against the wok.  This will help infuse the oil with garlic flavor.  This will only take a few seconds.

Add in salt and then the winged beans.  Stir  and flip for 30 secs then splash in rice wine.  Stir another 30 secs then add in minced garlic. Stir for another 30 seconds, then turn heat to low, cover the wok, let cook covered for 30 secs.  Check taste and adjust salt if necessary.  

Give the cornstarch and water a good stir, pour into the wok and stir briskly until the sauce thickens and clings to the bean, 5-10 secs.   Remove immediately from wok to serving dish.  That's it, it's that simple.  Enjoy!



  1. I love winged's quite versatile, it can be eaten raw in a salad or in Singapore it's commonly stir fried with sambal (chilli paste of garlic, shrimp paste, etc). Proteins like prawns, mince meat or dried can be added.

    Not had it stir fried with only garlic though, will try when I get my hands on some wing beans :)

  2. Hi SL - The Singapore style sounds delicious! Definitely going to try it with sambal next time. Thanks for the tip! ~ellen

  3. Fried with dry shrimp ans belachan is indeed very delicioys

  4. My family got winged beans in our local community supported agriculture basket, and tried this recipe. It is one of our favorite things now - we even prepare other veggies in this style when we can't get the winged beans.
    Thank you so much!