Monday, 12 October 2009

Not 4 but 2 Heavenly Kings - and its not poker but Cultural Exchange!

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!


Bellini Valli said...

Great analogy Dharm. I would love to see this at my own dinner table. I would be forced to substitute but you just never know what we sometimes have available at our local Asian market.

maybelle's mom said...

I am trying to figure out what four angle beans are. I wonder if we get them... and, totally agree about sharing.

vincent said...


We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM YUM.
We would like to add it to the

We would be delighted if you could add your blog to Petitchef so that our users can, as us,
enjoy your recipes.

Petitchef is a french based Cooking recipes Portal. Several hundred Blogs are already members
and benefit from their exposure on

To add your site to the Petitchef family you can use or just go to and click on "Add your site"

Best regards,


Ivy said...

Some of the ingredients are unknown to me but it sounds great.

Elle said...

Truly a cultural exchange. The only ingredients I've had are the onions and garlic! It looks delicious if a bit mysterious.

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Any thing with Sambal Belacan I like!!! You have made me such a fan of this spicy condiment! I always enjoy your entries Dharm!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

That dish looks really tasty! a real cultural exchange!




Blog Widget by LinkWithin