White Sesbania flowers are oblong-shaped, pendulous blooms. They are similar in shape to pea flowers, bearing an upright standard petal; a curved, boat-shaped keel; and wing petals that spread out from the flower. Each flower is quite large, growing to 7 to 10 centimers long. They are showy blooms, and have white, pink or red petals, depending on the variety. However, the white flowers are preferred for eating. The flowers are rich in sugar, and taste sweet at first bite. They also have an intriguing mushroom-y umami flavour, along with a slight bitter aftertaste.
White Sesbania flowers are available in the summer months.
White Sesbania flowers are botanically classified as Sesbania grandiflora, and belong to the pea family. They are also known as Tiger Tongue flowers, Parrot flowers, White Dragon, Australian Corkwood flowers, Swamp Pea. The tree on which White Sesbania flowers grow is not cultivated species. White Sesbania flowers are known as Dok Khae in Thailand, and as Katuray in the Philippines. The flowers can be found in small markets when they are in season.
White Sesbania flowers contain protein, carbohydrates, and fiber. They are a source of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and ascorbic acid.
White Sesbania flowers are commonly used in salads and curries, such as the sour Kaeng som curries of Thailand. They may be dipped in batter and fried in the same manner as zucchini flowers. To use the flowers, the stamen must first be pulled out as this is bitter in taste. They are then washed, and often quickly blanched before being used. They pair well with seasonings like fish sauce and shrimp paste and go well with other vegetables like green beans, cabbage and tomatoes. To store White Sesbania flowers place them in a loose plastic bag in the refrigerator, where they will last for up to a week.