Chinese Food often has interesting names like Buddha Jumps Over the Wall - a very expensive soup-like dish that includes more than 30 ingredients. I've never tried it so I wouldnt know what it tastes like...
Another dish that I HAVE tried is the 4 Heavenly Kings or 4 Kings Vegetables. It's a favourite dish in many local Chinese restaurants and one that we often enjoy. Basically, this is 4 vegetables stir fried with belacan - usually long beans, lady's fingers, brinjals and 4-angle beans although sometimes asparagus or even petai is used.
Petai is a famous bean in Malaysia and is often cooked with belacan. I'm not a fan of petai (otherwise known as bitter bean,sataw, twisted cluster bean, yongchaa, yongchaak, zawngtah or stink bean). I'll eat it but I'm not a fan.
I dont know where the name 4 Heavenly Kings comes from. Maybe it started one night when a bunch of chefs were playing poker and one of them had a hand of Four-of-a-kind and they were all kings. He would have spread his cards out and said "4 Heavenly Kings - read em and weep!" Nice imaginative story but I doubt that has anything to do with it...
The Lovely Wife had wanted to make this dish for a long time and when we bought some four-angle beans at the market, she decided she was going to make this - never mind that we didnt have the ladies-fingers or long beans/asparagus/petai.
I never saw a rule saying that there had to be 4 kings. Two kings are quite enough and delicious too!
2 chinese brinjals - cut into pieces
4 four-angle beans - cut into pieces
4 cloves garlic - chopped
1 Onion - thinly sliced
50g dried prawns
2 tbsp Sambal Belacan
Fry the brinjals in a little oil till half cooked. Remove from pan and drain. Sautee garlic and onion in a little oil. Add in the belacan and cook well. Pound the shrimps in a mortar and then fry together with the Belacan until nice and fragrant. Toss in the brinjals and stir till tender. Add in the 4-angle-beans and quickly stir fry to combine.
Very simple and very tasty. The 4-angle beans offer a crunchy complement to the brinjals and the belacan with shrimps brings everything together. Its a yummy dish eaten with rice on its own or as an accompaniment with a meat dish.
Now just imagine how much better this dish would taste with another 2 kings! After all, four-of-a-kind surely beats a pair!