Fresh and Pickled Long Bean Stir-Fry
Published Oct 14, 2023
The Two Faces of Green Beans
What would happen if you crossed dry-fried green beans (ganbian sijidou) and pickled long bean and pork stir-fry (roumo jiangdou)? I wondered this when I saw a recent Instagram photo of such a dish and remembered eating it in Chengdu. The answer? You’d have the fresh-fried snap of the green bean and the tart pickle of the long bean but with less effort than the first dish and less pork than the second. Win-win!
It’s amazing how well the fresh and pickled forms of the green beans complement each other; two faces of the same bean, one bright and crisp, the other dark and sour. I now make this in great quantities for Fongchong, who likes it as much as either of those two more-famous dishes.
The only way in which you need to think ahead is being sure you’ve got some long beans in your paocai pickle jar (or that you’ve purchased some readymade paojiangdou). In our version, I used Chinese yardlong beans for the pickles and thin American green beans for the fresh beans, but you could use either bean for both treatments. Here’s where I admit that a long bean is not really a green bean—it’s a cowpea and more closely related to black-eyed peas—but it tastes very similar to a green bean and they are pretty much interchangeable. They are easier to pickle than short green beans, because you can (carefully) tie one of them around a bunch of the others and add the bundle to the pickle jar, making them easier to retrieve when pickled.
The pickled erjingtiao chilies also come from the home pickle jar (or, once again, readymade paolajiao can be bought). Just throw a few freshly dried erjingtiao chilies into your jar, and in two to three days you’ve got pickled chilies. You could also sub dried chilies, but we treat the soft pickled chilies like a veg and eat them.
I cut these beans in 1/2-inch to 1-inch pieces. In Sichuan, they’d probably be more like 1 cm, but we like slightly bigger bite-size pieces. This dish is very much about the vegetables, so you can reduce or omit the pork, though it does add a delicious fatty counterpoint that we’d miss if it were completely absent.
The sauce is simply uber-umami Zhongba light soy sauce and sugar.
As with most stir-fries, the prep is the majority of the work. Once the beans are cut, the stir-fry takes no time:
- Stir-fry the pork mince and remove
- Fry the fresh green beans and garlic in caiziyou until the green bean skins are puckering and the garlic is toasty
- Add the pickled green beans and chilies and heat through
- Add back the meat and the sauce and stir-fry briefly to meld
Eat with rice and you’ve got a meal!
Fresh and Pickled Long Bean Stir-Fry
- ⅓ pound ground pork
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing cooking wine
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons caiziyou (roasted rapeseed oil), divided or other cooking oil
- ½ pound fresh green beans or long beans, cut in ½-inch lengths
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- ½ pound pickled green beans or long beans, cut in ½-inch lengths
- 2 to 3 pickled erjingtiao chilies, sliced or sub dried chilies
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce (Zhongba preferred)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Add ground pork to a bowl and mix in Shaoxing wine and salt.
- Heat wok over high flame until wisps of smoke are visible, lower heat to medium, and add 1 tablespoon caiziyou. Add pork and stir-fry until cooked through and just starting to brown. Use you wok spatula to break pork into smallest bits possible as you cook. Remove and hold.
- Pour off the grease, clean wok, and return to medium heat. Heat 4 tablespoons caiziyou, then add the fresh green bean segments. Stir-fry for about a minute, then add the chopped garlic. Stir-fry until the green beans' skins are starting to pucker and the green beans and garlic are taking on color. Do not overcook, as you want the fresh beans to retain some bite.
- Add the pickled beans and the pickled chilies and stir-fry briefly, until warmed through.
- Add back the pork, the soy sauce and the sugar and stir-fry until all is well combined and hot. Plate and serve with rice.
Tried this recipe?