The Thais enjoy a native plant called winged bean. It is a delicately flavoured vegetable that has a hint of asparagus. The beans are bright green and have a decorative frill on each side, hence their name. A popular way to enjoy them in Thailand is to blanch them, toss them in an aromatic dressing and serve them as a salad. The Thais combine these beans with prawns and chicken; I have made a vegetarian version of this tasty dish. If winged beans are unavailable, you can substitute runner beans or French beans.
Blanch the beans in salted boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain and plunge them immediately in cold water. Then drain thoroughly and set aside.
Combine the chillies, sugar, lime juice, light soy sauce and coconut milk in a bowl and mix well. Toss the blanched beans and shallots with this mixture. Garnish with the peanuts and roasted desiccated coconut and serve.
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