One of the thing I love most about Asian grocery stores is the rather random assortment of fun ingredients like long beans. I always think about buying them, but I never do because I end up buying pea shoots, yu choy or gai lan. About a month ago I finally pulled the trigger and bought some. Then I got busy at work and forgot all about them. They turned up in the bottom of the crisper about a week or two later, moldy and gross. Fail. But I decided this past weekend to try again so I picked up another bunch. And we finally made long beans! One of the things that immediately drew me to this recipe (aside form the long beans of course) was the fact that everything in the recipe is a staple that we keep in the pantry or refrigerator. We didn't have to go out to buy anything. Go us. However, this recipe used up the rest of our sesame oil so before we can make it again we need to stock back up. Here's hoping that I remember to pick up some more sesame oil on my next trip to the grocery...
I am pretty impressed with our first attempt at long beans. They were really tasty and interesting. Every time we make a dish with dried shiitake mushrooms I am reminded of just how much I like them as an ingredient. We made Stir-Fried Rice with Pork and Shiitake Mushrooms back in February that was absolutely delicious, which I totally attribute to the earthy, funky flavor of the mushrooms. The same held true here - I loved the flavor of the mushrooms. The preserved vegetables added some funk of their own to the dish too, but in a slightly different way. The mushrooms are more deeply umami whereas the preserved vegetables are pungently salty and garlicky. I also thought that the ground pork and Chinese sausage together were a really nice combination. The Chinese sausage is rich and porky, but sweet and has a nice crisp texture to it, while the ground pork is meaty and homey. I thought this was the type of dish (with slightly different proportions to be heavier on the green beans and lighter on the meat) that I could totally have seen myself eating in a back alley restaurant in China with plastic stools and little tables set up outside on the sidewalk. It was totally satisfying and not at all pretentious. Two thumbs up. I told Alex that this is my favorite recipe we have made from this particular cookbook yet. The Five-Spice Chicken with Sugar Snaps was pretty good, but as far as I am concerned this dish was better.
Recipe after the jump!
Spicy Long Beans with Sausage and Mushrooms
Stir-Frying to the Sky's Edge: The Ultimate Guide to Mastery, with Authentic Recipes and Stories
By Grace Young
8 medium dried shiitake mushrooms
1 bunch Chinese long beans (about 12 oz.)
2 oz (about 1/4 cup) Sichuan preserved vegetable (all we had was Tianjin preserved vegetable so we used that)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp peanut oil
1/4 cup ground pork (about 2 oz)
1 Chinese sausage, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
1/3 cup thinly sliced scallions
1/4 cup cilantro sprigs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
Soak mushrooms in 3/4 cup cold water for 30 minutes, or until softened. Drain and squeeze dry, reserving 2 tbsp of soaking liquid. Cut off the stems and mince the mushrooms. Set aside.
Trim 1/4-inch from the ends of the long beans. Cut long beans into 1/4-inch pieces. Set aside. Rinse preserved vegetable in cold water. Finely chop (you should end up with about 1/4 cup). Set aside.
In a small bowl combine soy sauce, Shaoxing and sesame oil.
Heat a wok over high heat. Once hot, swirl in 1 tbsp peanut oil. Add ground pork and sausage. Using a metal spatula, break up the pork and stir-fry until the pork is no longer pink, about 1 minute. Add mushrooms and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add remaining peanut oil. Add beans and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add reserved mushroom soaking liquid. Cover and cook 30 seconds. Uncover and add preserved vegetable, scallions and cilantro. Add soy sauce mixture. Stir to combine. Add salt, sugar and pepper. Stir-fry until pork and sausage are cooked and the vegetables are crisp tender, about 1-2 minutes.
Serve with rice.