I’ve been experimenting with meatless recipes lately, not to go vegetarian, but to come up with new ways to serve vegetables as appetizers, side dishes or snacks. Some experiments did not turn out well; others did like this lima bean balls. Fresh lima beans (patani, in Filipino) were boiled until almost but not quite mushy, mashed with a fork, seasoned and mixed with a beaten egg, formed into balls and deep-fried.
I’m guessing other varieties of beans can be used, even canned beans which won’t require boiling, and the “theme” can vary as well. These are “Oriental” because I used oyster and hoisin sauces to flavor the bean balls. Next time, I’ll try “Mexican” by adding chopped mild chilis and cilantro. Or, I can mix in some chopped sun dried tomatoes and sweet basil leaves, place a cube of cheese right at the center of the bean balls so that the cheese softens and turns gooey during deep frying, and I can have Italian-inspired lima beans balls. The possibilities are endless and just thinking about them excites me.
Ovo-vegetarian oriental lima bean balls
- 200 grams fresh lima beans
- 1 egg beaten
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce (for strict vegetarians, there are vegetarian oyster sauces)
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 3 to 4 cups cooking oil for deep frying
- Boil the beans until tender, about 20 minutes. Dried and mature beans will take longer to cook so treat the "20 minutes" as a mere guideline. Put simply, the beans should be tender enough to mash but not mushy because you really want some texture of the beans to remain.
- Drain the beans and mash with a fork (or a vegetable masher if you’ve got one). Season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the hoisin and oyster sauces and pour in the beaten egg. Mix well. Form into two-inch balls.
- Heat the cooking oil in a wok or frying pan. Fry the bean balls in batches of four to six until golden brown and crisp on the outside. Drain on paper towels. Serve with more hoisin sauce on the side.