Mama’s Ensalada

This is a salad my mom came up with way back when I was in my teens. It’s a very Filipino salad using the commonly used vegetables, bataw or hyacinth bean and sigadillas, also called winged bean in English. This is just another was you can use these readily available vegetables, aside from adding it to the usual sinigang or pinakbet.  So I hope you’ll give it a try.

My mother’s cleaning lady, who also does our cleaning and ironing, is a green thumb who plants every available space in her neighborhood with all kinds of vegetables. She peddles her greens and supplies a few stores around the area as well. But with 7 kids and an unemployed husband, she needs to makes extra money cleaning and doing odd jobs for her customers.  Life is hard for this woman but she just keeps trudging along and I really admire her for her fortitude.
That morning, she came by with large bunches of these two vegetables and was selling it for a song. I regretted not taking a photo, they were so freshly picked and would have made a good one. Anyway, this salad’s success is really dependent on the freshness of the vegetables. They are tender and crisp and sweetish at this point.

Soon as I saw them, I immediately thought of this salad and my mother gamely got started. This is served with a typical Filipino ensalada vinaigrette of vinegar, sugar, salt and black pepper.

In the past, my mother used to cut the vegetables diagonally in about half-inch strips and parboiled them before setting them on a plate. This time she just cut it in 1-inch pieces and parboiled. Top it with some thinly sliced onions, tomatoes and a sliced hard boiled egg and pour the vinaigrette over it. We skipped the egg this time for some reason…but it was just as good as I remember it.

Serve warm or chilled.