Sigadillas Sa Gata is one of my favourite comfort foods. Sad to say that I only discovered it the last ten years. There’s this restaurant in Robinson’s Manila, called Mangan (translated from Pampango – to eat) that serves it and where I found out that it existed. I suppose that long ago when I first tasted sigadillas, the cook didn’t blanch it therefore it was acrid (mapakla!) and I didn’t bother to like it. Sigadillas is seasonal because you can’t find it all the time. When you slice it, into pieces crosswise, each slice looks like a butterfly; maybe that is why it was called the winged bean.


  • 250 grams sigadillas (winged beans) – trim off about 1⁄4-inch from both ends, then slice horizontally, about 1⁄2-inches, the beans to look like little stars; set aside, ready to be blanched
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • 1⁄4 cup sliced onion
  • 1 tablespoon bagoong alamang – fermented shrimp paste
  • 1⁄2 to 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 siling mahaba (lady finger chilli) – sliced into very small pieces


  1. Sigadillas have to be blanched before they are used. If one does not blanch the sigadillas, it will have an acrid (mapakla) taste.
    To blanch the sigadillas, bring to a boil about 4 cups of water; when boiling, placed the sliced sigadillas in the water for 2 minutes.
    Remove from fire, drain in colander, and rinse with cold water.
    Let drip and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, place oil and heat over medium low fire.
  3. When the pan feels hot, place garlic and onions in pot and sauté till the onions are translucent.
  4. Add the bagoong alamang and sauté for 1 minutes then pour in the coconut milk.
  5. Turn down the fire to low and bring the mixture to a low simmer for 5 minutes.
  6. Then put in the chilli and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes.
  7. Taste the mixture and adjust to your liking; you can add fish sauce (patis), and/or freshly ground black pepper.
  8. Now put in the blanched sigadillas and continue to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste the mixture; sigadillas must still be crunchy; do not overcook.
  9. Serve while hot with steamed rice.