A few weeks ago in Tai Nam's vegetable department I noticed packages of bong so dua, the flower buds of Sesbania grandiflora
, something I was then unfamiliar with. Once I figured out what they are I returned to buy some. Although they haven't been in stock every visit they were still available as of a few days ago.
At a glance they look like whitish bean pods but peel back the petals and you'll find an almost fully formed flower. These specimens are probably more mature than is ideal but beggars can't be choosers.
I was unable to find many recipes but crayfish soup with bong so dua
sounded appealing (shrimp took the place of crayfish). I made a simple tamarind and tomato broth flavored with garlic, scallions, lemon grass and fish sauce, then tossed in some raw shrimp plus whole bong so dua and let everything simmer a few minutes. A very good and easy soup. Bong so dua have a subtle flavor reminiscent of artichoke with a noticeably bitter finish. I like them quite a bit and want to try a few more dishes while they're still available. You never know what seasonal specialties will make a brief appearance at Tai Nam.
4925 N Broadway St