Dried-fried yard-long beans is one of my favorite side dishes to order in Chinese restaurants- they’re lightly blistered and well-cooked with, Sichuan peppercorns and dried chilies adding spice and a little smokiness. However, they can be hard to get right at home unless you know a couple tricks. Shallow frying the beans once in a fair amount of oil and constantly stirring the beans to get them cooked without burning (almost like deep-frying) helps them develop that characteristic wrinkled and blistery surface, along with a deep, caramelized flavor. Frying the beans a second time along with all the other ingredients adds spice and smokiness to the flavor profile.
If you can’t find yard-long beans, you can substitute regular string beans, which are more commonly available. To make a totally vegetarian version of this dish, you can substitute some dried or fresh shiitakes in place of the ground pork and use vegetable stock for the sauce.
- 1 pound yard-long beans, cut into 2-inch segments
- 3 ounces ground pork
- 1/4 cup peanut or vegetable oil
- 5 or 6 dried red chilies
- 1/2 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, crushed in a mortar and pestle
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced or grated fresh ginger
- 5-6 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onion
- 1 tablespoon Chiangking black vinegar
- 1/4 cup stock (chicken or vegetable)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
- Rinse the green beans and dry them thoroughly; even a small amount of water will cause oil in the wok to spit. Cut the beans into 2-inch lengths.
- Prepare the sauce: In a small bowl, stir together the stock, rice wine, sesame oil, sugar, and salt until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
- Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat until a bead of water sizzles and evaporates on contact. Add the peanut oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Add the green beans and stir-fry, keeping the beans constantly moving, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the outsides begin to blister and the beans are wilted. Turn off the heat, remove the green beans, and set aside to drain on a plate lined with paper towels.
- Remove all but 1 tablespoon of oil and reheat the wok. Add the pork, and cook until browned. Then add the chilies, Sichuan peppercorns, garlic, ginger, and scallions and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the sliced garlic and stir-fry for another 1 minute, until browned and beginning to crisp. Add the sauce. Return the green beans to the wok and stir-fry for another 1 minute. Add black vinegar and scallions, stir to mix. Transfer to a plate and serve hot.
last updated August 17, 2023