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Sunday, August 28, 2005

Chinese Style Green Beans: Recipe

Fried foods. I hadn't really contemplated fried foods until the current Is My Blog Burning was announced "Summer's Flying, Let's get Frying". They just seem so taboo to me. That's not to say I don't eat fried foods. If I go out to eat mussels I am more than likely to eat frites. On a super late night if I pass Bob's Dounts and they happen to be putting out a fresh batch I've been known to partake.

But frying food at home? Nope. Anthony Bourdain neatly outlines the difficulty of frying French fries at home in the Les Halles Coobook and why it is such a bother--there is the quantity of the oil necessary, the disposal of oil, the lack of a professional "fryer", the difficulty of maintaining the right temperature, the resulting sogginess of the fries and oiliness of your kitchen. While I will probably never make fries at home, there is one solitary dish that I do fry at home--string beans.

Have you ever had dry fried string beans at a Chinese restaurant? The beans become wrinkled and darker green. The flavor and texture intensifies and they tun into a treat that is hard to stop eating! How are they made? They are fried. Usually deep fried. But because unlike potatoes or a myriad of other things that go into fryers, they don't really absorb oil, they are easy to make and almost impossible to mess up. Also you don't need to deep fry them, shallow frying is fine. The original recipe uses Chinese long beans but you can make these with green beans

Chinese Style Green Beans
serves 4


1 lb fresh green beans
1/4 cup vegetable oil or peanut oil (I used rice oil)

2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoons sherry
1 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Chili garlic paste to taste (I use a teaspoon)


Wash the beans and chop off the ends. In a small bowl combine the sauce ingredients. Heat a heavy pan and add the oil. When the oil is very hot, add the beans and cook, stirring frequently until the beans are wrinkled slightly, 5-10 minutes. Scoop out the beans and drain off the oil. Drain the beans on a paper towel then return the beans and the sauce mixture to the dry pan and cook until thickened. Serve with rice.