Spicy Sichuan Long Beans

 

Here’s my version of a classic spicy dish made traditionally with Chinese Long Beans. If you can’t find yardlong beans, use regular green beans. Normally, the beans would be oil blanched (fried in oil), but I read about this oven method in Barbara Kafka’s book “Vegetable Love” and think it is great, especially since my stove has a hard time getting hot enough to deep fry! If you want to be traditional, heat 2 cups of oil in a wok until it just starts to smoke, then carefully add the beans to the oil. Be sure they are dry or they will spatter hot oil everywhere! Fry until the outside of the beans are wrinkled, then proceed.

INGREDIENTS:

 12 ounces of Chinese Long Beans, trimmed and cut into even lengths, 2 or 4 inches
2 small fresh red chili peppers, quartered lengthwise or 2 dried chili de arbol
Grapeseed oil (or other neutral flavored high heat oil) as needed

Sauce:
6 cloves garlic, peeled and de-germed
3 slices of ginger, 1 inch wide by ¼ inch thick, peeled
2 teaspoon dark soy sauce (or regular soy sauce)
1 teaspoon rice  vinegar
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine or sherry
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon sesame oil, optional

Slurry:
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon cornstarch

METHOD:

Heat the oven to 500°F.

Rub the beans with enough oil to coat them well, then place on a sheet pan in a single layer. Roast in the oven until the beans start to shrivel and are browned a little (as if they had been deep fried). Remove from the oven and keep hot.

While the beans cook, put the garlic, ginger, soy, vinegar, wine, sugar and sesame oil if you are going to use it, into a blender and liquefy.

Make the slurry. Add the cornstarch to the water and stir well to mix.

When the beans finish cooking in the oven, heat a sauté pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil to the pan and heat up.

When the oil is hot, add the chili peppers to the pan and stir in.

Add the green beans to the pan and stir around. As soon as they are hot (if they had a chance to cool), make a well in the center of beans and add the sauce. Heat up and stir to coat the beans.

Make a well in the center and add the slurry. Boil and then stir to coat everything. Cook until thickened and serve.

 

Chef’s Tips and Notes:
This dish is sometimes made with green onions. Trim 2-3 scallions and cut either into 2 inch lengths or slice finely. If using the longer pieces, add them into the pan with the chilis. If sliced fine, add with the sauce. You could even use ground pork, cooking it with the chili, and adding the sauce before adding in the beans.

 

YIELD: Serves 4

 

SOURCE: Chef Andrew E Cohen