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Synonyms: oriental bean, red rice bean

botanical name: Phaseolus pubescens, syn. Vigna umbellata


Origin, areas of cultivation


The climbing-mountain-bean stems from India, central and southern China, Burma, Malaysia and the Philippines. These countries are also the main areas where it is cultivated today. It grows there at elevations of up to 1800 m.




Climbing-mountain-beans are usually sold as dried beans and are therefore available throughout the year.


Appearance, taste, characteristics


These beans grow on climbing stalks that are hairy and grooved and reach up to 3 m in height. The slender pods are 6-12 cm long and approximately 0.5 cm wide. They contain 6-12 very small (5-8 mm long) oval seeds, or beans. These are yellow to reddish-brown or black and may also be speckled. There are a number of groups within the species, and within these groups many varieties can be identified. The main differentiating characteristics are the blossoms and the leaves.




Beans in general are very nutritious. They supply high-quality vegetable protein and are rich in carbohydrates and low in fat (with the exception of the soybean).


They contain appreciable amounts of vitamins, above all vitamin B1, and minerals, especially potassium and magnesium, along with considerable iron. In addition to these nutrients, particularly the shells of the beans contain large amounts of fiber, which provides for healthy intestinal activity.

The content of secondary plant substances in beans is also worth mentioning, in particular phytoestrogens, saponines, and protease inhibitors.


Ripe seeds of the climbing-mountain-bean contain 20-22% high-quality protein.


Beans should never be eaten raw; in this condition they contain a harmful protein that leads to stomach and intestinal complaints that can even be fatal. This substance is destroyed, however, by 15 minutes of cooking or by lactic acid fermentation.


Harmful substances


Like all beans, raw climbing-mountain-beans contain the toxic protein substance phasine, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach and intestinal problems and even death. Cooking for 15 minutes or lactic acid fermentation destroys this substance, however, and the beans can be eaten without reservations.


Dried beans must be soaked for about 12 hours prior to cooking. The cooking time is then about 1-1.5 hours. Further preparation tips can be found in the chapter "Legumes, pulses".


Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation


The climbing-mountain-bean is used chiefly as a dry bean, in soups or platters of various pulses. Because they are especially small, they are sometimes used in the countries where they are grown in place of rice.


They are also used for sprouting, as fodder, and as green manure. The unripe pods and the leaves can be cooked and eaten as a vegetable.




If dried beans are kept cool and dry they can be stored for long periods of time.





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