Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sichuanese dry-fried green beans (gan bian si ji dou)

Another recipe from Fuchsia Dunlop's amazing cookbook Land of Plenty, this is like the ultimate weeknight speed dinner, especially if you buy pretrimmed beans. The beans are nicely charred and wrinkled, the meat salty and flavorful. It's also a great mild accompaniment to a spicier Sichuanese dish. Serves 2.

1. Trim the tips off 10-12 ounces of green beans and cut them in half.

2. Heat 2 T. peanut oil in a wok, add the beans, and stir-fry about 5 minutes until they are tender and the skins a little puckered and charred. Pour the beans into a bowl.

3. Heat another 2 T. oil in the wok, add 4 ounces of ground pork, and stir-fry for a minute or two until cooked, splashing in soy sauce and Shaoxing rice wine as you go.

4. Add 2 T. ya cai (pickled mustard greens) and stir-fry briefly until hot, the toss in the beans. Remove from the heat, stir in a bit of sesame oil, and serve.

I have also seen a variant of this recipe made with Chinese olives. Chopped, pitted olives can be used in place of the ya cai.

Bonus recipe: cucumber salad!

Mix sliced cucumbers, thinly sliced red onion, diced Thai chillis and chopped cilantro with rice vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and lime juice to taste. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and serve.

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