Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dry Fried String Beans (乾煸四季豆)

I love this classic Sichuan dish.

Then again, I love anything that has been fried.

To prepare this dish, the beans are first cooked in oil* until they begin to shrivel up, dry out and get some browned spots developing on their skins. What happens is the water cooks out slowly and the flavor of the beans is enhanced as the water is shed as steam. It changes the texture greatly as well–instead of being crisp like properly stir-fried beans, these are chewy and tender without being mushy and boring.

The result? I got beans that tasted nothing like beans. Added a gazillion calories to something that is meant to be healthy. But I wouldn't have it any other way.

Dry Fried String Beans:

- 2 tablespoons oil
- 3/4 pound string beans, stringed, with ends snapped off, rinsed and dried
- 1 tablespoon peeled and minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon peeled and minced ginger
- 1/4 pound ground pork
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- A pinch salt/pepper
- 1 tablespoon chicken broth
- 2-3 drops sesame oil

1. Heat pan on medium high heat until it smokes. Add oil.
2. Drop in string beans–make sure they are dry! Stir and fry until the beans dry out, shrivel slightly and begin to char to a dark brown in spots. Remove when they are quite wrinkled and somewhat charred, and drain on paper towels.
3. Crank heat up to high and add ginger and garlic. Stir and fry for 15 seconds until very fragrant.
4. Add ground pork and cook thoroughly. Stir in oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, salt, and pepper.
5. Return the string beans to the pan. Add chicken stock. Toss vigorously over high heat until all liquids are reduced and absorbed.
6. Remove from heat. Stir in sesame oil.
7. Enjoy over white rice!

*Many restaurants attain the same texture in a much shorter period of time by dunking the beans into a deep fryer for a couple of minutes, but because I don't want to be left with a pot of oil, I "dry fry".

2 comments:

  1. Yum, this was so good. So many yummy things have been coming out of Suggy's kitchen lately. I'm starting to think we should just open up a lil restaurant. Thanks Tong!

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  2. Xie Xie! I don't know what I like better - cooking or taking pictures of my dishes. =]

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