Dry-Fried Green Beans

Saturday, September 29, 2007

One of my favourite things to order in a Sichuan restaurant is gan bian si ji dou - green beans that have been 'dry-fried' in aromatic oil til their skins are slightly blackened and insides are tender. A plate of these with a bowl of rice and a beer is a perfect late lunch.

A couple tablespoons of ya cai are added just as the beans finish cooking, or are sometimes simply sprinkled on top of the completed dish. Ya cai, chopped celery preserved with salt and sugar, is one of the many varieties of preserved vegetable that are common in Sichuan cuisine. It adds salt, chew, and flavor and is worth seeking out, but if you can't find any just leave it out or use a couple of tablespoons ground pork and extra salt added along with the beans.
Cut a few cloves of garlic into wide slices and do the same with a two inch piece of ginger; cut a couple of dried red chilies in half. The seasonings can be left in bigger chunks because they are just for flavouring the oil. (Some places also use a generous amount of hua jiao, the Sichuan peppercorns, but I am fonder of those in other dishes. Use them if you want.) Trim and cut about a pound of green beans. Heat two to three tablespoons of oil in a large pot or wok until smoking and add garlic, ginger, and red pepper; cook for a half a minute or so until the oil is very fragrant. Add beans to the pan with a shake or two of salt and cook until the beans are charred and juicy. Add two tablespoons ya cai and mix together; turn onto a plate. Serves 2.


Nabeela said...

oh yum! those look nice...I once made something similar, but it was more of soy sauce with garlic kinda thing. But I LOVE green beans...and this looks good