Braised Long Beans (or Green Beans)

You may have seen Chinese long beans in a store and farmers’ market and wondered about them – they look like green beans but they run 12-16″ in length with a slightly bumpier skin. Their interior is whiter and spongier, and the seeds are smaller and reddish brown.

Click picture for more information

These beans are used in the famous “dry” fried beans in Sichuanese cuisine, but they are most simply and quickly cooked as a braise, in which you quickly stirfry them before adding a bit of liquid to simmer them until done. If you cannot find long beans, you can also cook green beans this way, but the simmering time will be slightly longer.

ingredients:

  • 1 bunch long beans, approximately 8 oz
  • 1/2 T oil
  • 1/4 c water or broth
  • 1/4 tsp salt, more to taste

method:

  1. Wash the beans well, shake to remove excess water, then snap off tops and tails and cut into 1″ sections.
  2. Heat the oil in the wok on high heat until it shimmers.
  3. Add the beans, stirfrying quickly for 1 m until they are coated with oil – they may get a few browned spots, which is fine.
  4. Add the liquid, bring it to a boil, stirring gently.
  5. Add the salt, reduce to a simmer and cover slightly.
  6. Stir after 1 m and check for doneness, repeating at 1 m intervals until they reach the texture you desire. (Long beans can take as little as 1 m depending on their freshness; green beans may take up to 5 m of simmering.)
  7. Scoop out of the wok (you can pour any remaining liquid on to the dish or leave it behind, your choice), adjust seasoning and serve.
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