Something About Yardlong Bean a.k.a 'Kacang Panjang'

So, the picture above is a common sight of the yardlong beans being sold in fresh market in almost around the world. This beans really is quite a popular delicacy in some places such as my hometown which is Taiping.  If you've never eat yard-long green beans, you're missing a real treat. I've been eating them since I was a child and never loathe with it. They are actually among the sweetest and most tender of the bean varieties. You can pick them, wash them, put them in a pot of boiling water and add some seasoning, and 10 minutes later serve them to your family. Yard-long green beans grow from 30 to 36 inches long but are best at about 12 inches. They are also call asparagus green beans or Chinese green beans.

Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis is a legume cultivated to be eaten as green pods. It is also known as the yardlong bean, bora, long-podded cowpea, asparagus bean, snake bean, Chinese long bean or Kacang Panjang if it's in Malaysia. Despite common name, the pods are actually only about half a yard long; the subspecies name sesquipedalis (one-and-a-half-foot-long) is a rather exact approximation of the pods' length.

This plant is of a different genus than the common bean. It is a vigorous climbing annual vine. The plant is subtropical/tropical and most widely grown in the warmer parts of South Asia, Southeastern Asia, Malaysia, and Southern China. It prefer hot and humid surroundings but some species can thrive in colder climate yet still sensitive to frost. A variety of the cowpea, it is grown primarily for its strikingly long (35-75 cm) immature pods and has uses very similar to that of the green bean. The many varieties of yardlong beans are usually distinguished by the different colors of their mature seeds. Some are cream colored while others are dark purple like a species that I've plant on my yard on following pictures.
 Wrinkled mature beans which are no longer tasty to eat but suitable to be used as seeds supply. At this stage, you can actually see the seeds inside it when exposed to the sunlight.
Some newly collect 'Kacang panjang' seeds that I don't know exactly which species does it belongs.
Notice the difference between newly picked seeds on the left and dried seeds on the others.

The pods, which can begin to form just 60 days(or less based on climate and soil condition) after sowing, hang in groups of two or more. They are best for vegetable use if picked before they reach full maturity; however, overlooked pods can be used like dry beans in soups. When harvesting, it is important not to pick the buds which are above the beans; since the plant will set many more beans on the same stem. This plant takes longer time to reach maturity than bush beans; but once producing, the beans are quick-growing and daily checking/harvesting is often a necessity. The plants will produce beans until frost in 4 climate zone and continue throughout the year in tropical climate(with intensive care).

Four days after sowing in polystyrene cup.
After about 2 weeks, the plants are well-established and climb rapidly on that blue 'tali rafia'. In this picture, I've actually plant 2 individual plant in each hole for better bean produce.

Approximately 5-6weeks after sowing, I was impressed by the amount of 'kacang panjang' it produces but quite frustrated with pests invasion that happens occasionally(like in that pic).
The crisp, tender pods are eaten both fresh and cooked. They are at their best when young and slender. They are sometimes cut into short sections for cooking uses. As a West Indian dish it is often stir-fried with potatoes and shrimp. They are used in stir-fries in Chinese cuisine. In Malaysian cuisine they are often stir-fried with chillies and shrimp paste (sambal), used in cooked salads (kerabu) mix in curry dish or cooked in endless variation of recipes. Another popular and healthful option is to chop them into very short sections(like the picture below), then fry them in an omelette. maybe you can eat it raw just like I always did with rice and other side dishes. Sometimes, I prefer to eat it with dippings like budu, cencaluk or sambal belacan to add more flavour to it.

Chopped long beans ready to be cooked.

They are a good source of protein, vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin, iron, phosphorus, and potassium, and a very good source for vitamin C, folate, magnesium, and manganese.

In a serving size of 100 grams of yardlong beans there are 47 calories, 0 grams of total fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 mg sodium (0% daily value), 8 grams of total carbohydrates (2% daily value), and 3 grams of protein (5% daily value). There is also 17% DV vitamin A, 2% DV iron, 31% DV vitamin C, and 5% DV calcium. (Percent daily values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Individual daily values may be higher or lower depending on individual calorie needs.)