Adapted from an Appetite for China recipe
Chinese long bean is one of the vegetables that we were introduced to in our time in Chengdu (25 years ago). They are about two feet long and are thinner, tougher and have a rougher skin than Western green beans. Although most American Chinese restaurants use Western green beans in their dishes—because of availability and American tastes—this is the green bean called for in traditional recipes. Today, you can find them in most Chinese specialty stores.
Jan requested that I learn how to make dry-fried green beans a few weeks ago. I used Western green beans. Today, I am attempting to make char siu. Dry-frying long beans sounds like a good side dish to compliment this traditional barbecued pork.
There had to be a secret that the Chinese cooks were keeping to themselves, or considered too obvious to mention. Yea for the internet! Whatever your problem there is someone who has found the answer and posted about it.
The secret to dry-frying is to keep the beans in constant motion. Usually when you stir fry vegetables you toss them every 10-15 seconds, but if you do that with the dense beans the skins burn before the insides cook completely. This cook’s secret technique was shared by Diana on her blog.
Karl’s Sichuan Dry Fried Green Beans
1 lb. Chinese long beans
6 dried red chilies
¼ cup peanut oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 green onions, white parts only, finely sliced
¼ cup Sichuan pickle
1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
½ tsp. Sichuan pepper, ground
1.2 cup red bell pepper, cut in 2 inch strips
1. Rinse the long beans and dry them thoroughly.
Tip: Even a little water will cause the oil in the wok to splatter and burn your hands.
2. Cut the beans into 2-inch lengths.
3. In a small bowl, mix the rice wine, chili bean sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and salt, reserve.
4. In a wok, large skillet, heat the oil until shimmering, over a high heat.
Tip: Swirl the pan to evenly coat the sides and bottom.
5. Add the green beans and chilies. Fry, keeping the beans constantly moving, for 5 to 6 minutes, until the beans are wilted and the skins begin to blister.
6. Transfer the green beans to a plate lined with paper towels.
Tip: This allows the excess oil to drain away from the beans.
7. Pour off most of the oil remaining in the pan.
8. Add the garlic, green onion, Sichuan pickle, ginger, and Sichuan pepper to the wok and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Tip: The original recipe called for only using the white parts of the onion. Normally I would change this to using the whole green onion, but today I am making a second dish where I can use the green parts.
9. Stir in the reserved sauce and most of the red bell peppers. Return the green beans to the wok.
10. Stir-fry for another 1 minute until the sauce thickens.
11. Transfer to a serving plate and garnish with the remaining red bell pepper.