Cooking: Spicy Szechuan Beans

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I had a bunch of green beans that wanted to use before the spoiled, so I decided to make Szechuan style spicy beans.  I really should use south east asian long beans for this, but since I had green beans, I went with them instead.

Green beans and yard long beans (aka asparagus beans) do have a similar flavor, can be handled and prepared in similar fashion.  But yard long beans have a texture that holds up to heat and cooking, maintaining a more al dente bite even after cooking.

You’ll need

  • 1/4 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 lb yard long beans (aka asparagus beans) or green beans
  • 1 clove garlic, minced fine
  • 3-4 dried chili peppers, coarsely ground
  • 1/4 tsp szechuan peppercorns, crushed (or 1/8 tsp ground szechuan peppercorn powder)
  • 1 tbs dried shrimp
  • 1 scallion or 1/2 cup of diced onions
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • a few drops of sesame oil (optional)
  • cooking oil

I didn’t have dried chilis, but I had sambal olek, so I used that instead. This particular sambal olek is just chilis, salt and some preservatives; so it can substitute for dried chilies. But they are not all the same, some have garlic, vinegar, etc.

These are dried shrimp. Because they are dried, they keep for a very long time, and when ground up into a powder, they add a savory, briny umami quality. I’m soaking them in water for a few hours before chopping them up (because these dried shrimp are larger, and are tooth-breakingly hard).

Start buy preparing the seasoning sauce, but combining the light & dark soy, sugar, and sesame oil (the ingredients in red) in a small bowl, and setting it aside.

dice up the scallions (or onions as I have here), the garlic, the dried shrimp, and the beans.

Fire up your wok or frying pan to high, and wait for it to get up to temperature. Immediately turn the heat down to medium, and add the beans and some of the onions, and just a little oil to stir fry.

season with salt and pepper, and stir fry until tender (about 4-5 minutes over medium heat) and set aside.

Next we work up the pork. Turn the heat up to high, and adding the remaining onions to the pan. Add just a tablespoon of water to the pan. The steam should blanch the onions quickly. Then add a drizzle of cooking oil and the dried shrimp. Stir fry for about 30 seconds.

Add the ground pork, and the minced garlic, and stir fry until the pork is done (no longer pink). About 1-2 minutes.

add the sauce to the pork, and return the beans to the wok/pan. Turn off the heat, and stir fry over the residual heat just to bring everything together.

Serve.

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