This is one of my favourite and one of the easiest and cheapest Surinamese recipes. For me this is comfort food and I like it to be very spicy. It’s this simple dish that I crave whenever I have been on holiday eating all kinds of other delicious things.
I usually buy my snake beans in Chinatown, but you can also find them in Asian shops in other parts of London e.g. Turnpike Lane, Brixton and Wood Green. I go to Chinatown at least once every two weeks and snake beans are always at the top of my shopping list. This vegetable is one of my favourites and used a lot in Surinamese cooking. There is a difference in taste and texture in the beans which are available here in London, and those available in Holland and Suriname. The UK beans are light green and a bit firm. They’re imported from Thailand and Malaysia. Surinamese snake beans are also exported to the Netherlands and they are a darker shade of green and softer in texture. I prefer Surinamese beans, but alas I will happily make do with the ones sold here.
I always have a bag of dried shrimp in my fridge. Also available in Asian supermarkets in the UK. They keep for long and they are often added to my sambal, nasi and bami goreng.
This recipe is for two people
50gr dried shrimp
A bunch of snake beans (they’re always sold by the bunch)
2 garlic cloves
1 Scotch bonnet (optional)
Soften the dried shrimp first by putting it in a bowl of hot water for a couple of minutes. Cut the snake beans into pieces of roughly a centimetre or two. Chop the onion and tomato, mince the garlic.
In a pan fry the onion first and then add the shrimp (excl water obviously). Stir fry for a bit before you add the tomato. After a minute it’s time to add the snake beans and scotch bonnet. Mix well with the shrimp, onion and tomato. Add a dash of water, bring to boil, put a lid on the pan and turn the heat lower. Cook for about ten minutes until the beans are softer. If they’re not soft enough then leave them a bit longer. Add salt and pepper to taste.
In Suriname we serve this dish either with rice or as a filling for a warm baguette. Sambal or a fresh Scotch bonnet on the side are optional.