Posted by: cris | June 25, 2013

Bataw (Hyacinth Bean, Lablab Dolichos)

A number of vegetables mentioned in Bahay Kubo are from the Legume Family. It includes our topic now, Bataw. It is a vine plant and this vegetable is often sold in the markets in Luzon where I grew up. It seems that it is not very liked here in Cebu as I very very seldom see it sold in the markets.

The leaves, tender pods and seeds are eaten as vegetables. The pods and leaves are good source of minerals, vit C, iron and calcium. The leaves have medicinal properties used for gonorrhea etc., seeds are considered aphrodisiac. Please check for other medicinal uses and recent studies.

You may use Bataw for recipes that asks for beans. You may mix them with your stir fries, stews but may even be in salad (

Recipes that might interest you are the following:

A. Recipes of hyacinth beans

There are many nice recipes out there but in sweltering, humid summer day, the porridge made of hyacinth bean and rice is the one highly suggested. This recipe is simple but good at strengthening spleen while warming stomach, clearing away the summerheat and eliminating dampness, and invigorating Qi to cure diarrhea. You just need to follow a few steps to make it.

Prepare 25g beans and 50g rice;
Clean beans with water and soak them for 8 to 10 hours;
Clean rice with water and soak them for 1 hour;
Place both of them into a casserole;
Put in appropriate water and then bring them to a boil on high heat;
Simmer them until the beans turn soft.
That is it. By the way, prolonged cooking time is required.

This site also states that Bataw that we should be careful with Bataw, as it says:

Cyanogenic glucosides contained don’t dissolve in water. It has antitrypsin activity and inhibits the growth of experimental animal, which is the reason why it being considered poisonous. Another enzyme contained has non-competitive antitrypsin activity but it could vanish after prolonged heating too. At the concentration of 10mg/kg, the experiment shows that it extends the clotting time of citratedplasma from 20s to 60s because of the inhibition to thrombin.

Else, from the perspective of TCM, hyacinth bean is off-limit for those who are suffering from malarial fever. So, take it as a lesson learned the hard way and never let it happen to you like other victims already suffered.



  1. Do you know where we can buy bataw beans here in the Philippines this time of year? We need it for our thesis project.

    • denise

      sorry but i don’t know anyone.


  2. Is bataw a perennial? Or do we have to replant every season?

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