Stirfried Long Beans (or Green Beans)

This is an enormously popular restaurant dish that can be easily made at home. It is one dish, however, that often suffers from the fact that a domestic stove simply doesn’t generate enough BTUs to replicate the slightly shrunken, lightly browned appearance of the beans that you get in a restaurant. Some restaurants will deep-fry the beans before stir-frying, a practice that I don’t replicate at home because of the health implications (and also because I hate the smell of fried food that tends to linger long after the dish is gone!) Our solution has been to use the highest heat your stove can muster, DON’T use a non-stick wok, and cook the beans a little longer than you think you should – they should be cooked through and slightly limp, NOT crisp-tender, which is so often the goal. Long beans tend to be a bit smaller in diameter and also a bit drier in texture, so they work better, but don’t let that stop you if what you have is green beans – they’re a fine substitution.

I have a recipe that includes preserved mustard greens, but since I’ve started using fewer processed foods in my cooking, I’ve decided that the dish is actually just as good without that ingredient. If you have access to an Asian market and would like to add it, it’s usually found canned and sometimes somewhat humorously labeled “preserved Chinese roots.” (We used to wonder if feeding them to our kids would make them more aware of the Chinese side of their heritage.) Simply mince 2 oz and add to the dish with the mushrooms. Another ingredient you can add is the tiny dried shrimp found in Asian markets. In Mandarin they’re called “shrimp rice” due to their tiny size, sort of equivalent to a grain of rice. 2 T of these can be added with the garlic.

ingredients:

  • 10 oz long beans or green beans, rinsed, ends removed and cut into 2″ lengths
  • 3 fresh shiitake mushrooms (or dried, rehydradted, water reserved for other uses), stems reserved for making broth, caps minced
  • 1 T oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp raw cane or light brown sugar
  • salt to taste (you may not need any)

garnish:

  • 1 scallion, minced
  • 1 red chili pepper, seeded (or not) and minced

method:

  1. Heat the oil in the wok over high heat until it shimmers.
  2. Explode the garlic just until fragrant, then add the mushrooms and stirfry quickly for 15 seconds.
  3. Add the beans and cook until they are a bit shrunken and have light brown spots on them. You needn’t stir constantly, and you can speed up the cooking process by lightly covering the wok if you’d like.
  4. Add the soy sauce and sugar, stir to combine, adjust seasoning, then remove to a plate.
  5. Garnish with scallion and chili pepper, and serve.

nutritional data:

The recipe serves 4 as part of a larger meal, and figures are given per serving.

  • Total calories 75, calories from fat 32
  • Total fat 4 g, saturated fat 1 g
  • Cholesterol 0 mg
  • Sodium 258 mg
  • Total carbs 10 g, dietary fiber 3 g , sugars 3 g
  • Protein 2 g
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