Saturday, July 30, 2011

Dry-Fried Green Beans (Gan Bian Si Ji Dou)

This dish is one that I love to order at Sichuan restaurants and one that I really rely on to judge the quality of a Sichuan restaurant along with Fish-Fragrant Eggplant aka Yu Xiang Qie Zi (which is way better than it sounds) and Ma Po Tofu.  If a restaurant can't prepare dry-fried green beans than it really has no hope of mastering some of the more complex Sichuan dishes.  This version of the dish is what I would call the home cook version.  It doesn't have the bells and whistles of the restaurant versions - no chilis or Sichuan peppercorns, no sugar, no ginger or garlic.  But it's deliciously homey and satisfying.  Alex and I shared a plate of the green beans and a bowl of rice for lunch and it was a perfect lunch.  If you're cooking dinner for a few people, I would totally recommend this as your side dish.  Next time I make the dish I might toss in a pinch of ground roasted Sichuan peppercorns or a little chili paste and sugar to give the dish some heat and a hint of sweetness.  I don't know.  But as I told Alex "I would super make this again."  And yes, I know that doesn't make any sense, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Recipe after the jump!

Dry-Fried Green Beans (Gan Bian Si Ji Dou)
Land of Plenty
By Fuchsia Dunlop

10 oz haricots verts or green beans
peanut oil
3 oz ground pork (about 2/3 cup)
2 tsp Shaoxing wine or dry sherry
2 tsp soy sauce
2 tbsp Sichuanese ya cai or Tianjin preserved vegetable, rinsed and finely chopped
salt to taste
1 tsp sesame oil

Remove any strings from the edges of the beans and trim off the tops and tails.  Break them into short sections (about 2 inches long).

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok, ad the beans and stir-fry over a medium flame for about 6 minutes, until they are tender and their skins are a little puckered.  Remove from the wok and set aside.  Heat another 2 tbsp oil in the wok over a high flame. add the pork and stir-fry for 30 seconds or so until it's cooked, splashing in the Shaoxing wine and the soy sauce as you go.  Add the ya cai or Tianjin preserved vegetable and stir-fry briefly until hot, then toss in the beans.  Stir and toss, adding salt to taste (remember that the ya cai is already very salty).

Remove from the heat, stir in sesame oil and serve.

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