In this article, I want to share with you the Chinese green beans recipe called dry-fried green bean 干煸四季豆 with minced meat, a traditional Sichuan cuisine.
I can assure you that the taste is utterly different from blanching, sautéing or green beans for a salad.
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Dried-fry is a unique Sichuan cooking method. The beans are fried with oil in the wok without adding water until slightly scorched, which is similar to grilling. The minced pork is stir-fried separately in the beginning, then combine with the beans and enhanced with preserve olive, resulting in a highly intense savory flavor.
Read on to find out how to prepare this mouth-watering green bean dish. This Chinese green beans recipe can be completed in twenty minutes.
Note: Green bean is called 四季豆 in Chinese with a few variations in English – French bean, string bean, and snap bean.
1 Prepare the minced pork
I suggest starting cooking with mincing the pork. Set aside to marinate while cleaning and snapping the beans subsequently.
The most common type of meat for this Chinese green beans recipe is pork. However, beef and chicken are suitable substitutes for the non-pork eater.
Choose the pork with some fat. The texture of the mincemeat is smoother if it contains some fat. My ideal ratio is five part of lean to one part of fat.
Mince the meat manually is always better than ground meat. Cut the fats into minute pieces before mincing together with the lean meat. Otherwise, they will remain as large pieces as mincing is not very efficient to reduce the size of the fat due to its springy nature.
Machine ground meat has a texture of a paste rather than tiny pieces. The meat tends to sticks together to form large lumps, and hard to brown it effectively to get the charred aroma.
Mince it finely will get the best result because when you mix it with the beans later, the meat will scatter randomly and stick onto the surface of each bean.
Combine some light soy sauce, sugar, salt, and some oil with the meat to marinate for a while.
2. Prepare the beans
Wash the green beans and drain in a colander.
Pluck away both ends, and snap the beans into two inches long sections.
3. Fry the meat
Salt, sugar and light soy sauce are all you need to season the meat. Please do not add any cornflour to marinate the meat. Cornflour (or any other flour) will cause the minced meat to stick to together while frying. We want the meat pieces well separated so that they will randomly scatter in between the beans after mixing both together in the later stage.
Fry the meat over medium heat with some oil without adding any water. Loosen the meat with the wok spatula to avoid them from sticking together. The hot surface of the wok (you can also use a skillet or nonstick pan to do this) will brown the meat slowly.
When it turns aromatic, add the olive vegetable. Continue flipping and stirring until the fat of the meat is rendered completely and turns slightly crispy.
Remove from the wok.
You can use slightly more oil to fry the meat. Let the meat infused and use the excess oil to dry-fried the green beans subsequently.
4. Dry-fried the beans
Add some oil to the wok if the leftover oil after frying the meat is insufficient.
Once the garlic becomes aromatic, throw in the green beans and dry fried over medium heat.
Arrange the beans in a single layer and sear the beans on the hot surface, similar to grilling. Flip the beans from time to time to ensure even cooking until the surface is slightly scorched. Low heat is always better in this step, just like grilling.
Meanwhile, add some sugar, ground white pepper, light soy sauce, and salt to season the green beans.
Once the green beans are beautifully charred, do a taste test to ensure the beans are now fully cooked and no longer tough. It may take between fifteen to twenty minutes to become brown and crisp-tender.
Return the meat into the wok.
Combine the meat and green bean and have a few quick stirs.
Substitute For Green Beans
There are frozen and fresh green beans available. However, frozen green beans tend to be less crisp compared to the fresh one. Green beans are the main ingredients in this dish so it is always preferable to buy the fresh one from the market.
You can substitute the green beans with yard-long beans or asparagus. Both are pairing well with the minced pork and the same set of seasoning ingredients.
Alternative to the olive vegetable for this Chinese green beans recipe
Another commonly used authentic ingredient for this dish is called fermented pickled mustard greens ( Sui Mi Ya Cai / 碎米芽菜 ). Nevertheless, it is hard to get outside of China. If you manage to purchase it from the grocery store or online, use it as the alternative to the olive vegetable. It has a pleasant savory taste and is an authentic Sichuan ingredient.
The olive vegetable is available in the supermarket in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur as opposed to the Sui Mi Ya Cai. It should be easier to get if you are living outside of China. (Note: It is called ‘Olive vegetable 橄欖菜) on the label, but it is actually mustard green pickles.)
Another alternative is the preserved vegetable called Zhai Cai 榨菜, which is available online from Amazon.
If you cannot get either one of the preserved vegetables, omit it and increase the amount of salt slightly in the recipe, since the olive vegetable is salty. However, try to get any of the preserved vegetables as it adds zest to the Chinese green beans recipe.
The Chinese green beans Recipe
For the meat:
- 200g minced pork
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vegetable oil
For the beans:
- Mince the pork finely. Season with light soy sauce, some sugar, oil, and salt. Combine and marinate.
- Wash green beans. Drained. Pluck away both ends, and snap the beans by hand to about two inches long each.
- Fry the meat over medium heat with some oil until it turns aromatic.
- Add 2 tablespoons of preserved olive. Combine and set aside.
- Add the mashed garlic and chili oil into the wok.
- Once the garlic becomes aromatic, throw in the beans and dry fried over medium heat until it is slightly scorched.
- Add sugar, a dash of white pepper, light soy sauce, and salt.
- Return the minced meat into the wok,
- Splash a tablespoon of wine. Turn off the heat, and add a little bit of sesame oil. Serve.
Substitute for olive vegetables are:
Sui Mi Ya Cai
You an get it on line (refer to the product section below)
- Yi Bin Sui Mi Ya Cai - YiBin SuiMiYaCai - Dried Vegetable, 8.1oz (230g)
- Yuquan - Preserved Vegetable - 80 grams - Original from China
- Szechuan Style Chili Oil 5 oz.
- Joyce Chen 21-9972, Classic Series Carbon Steel Wok Set, 4-Piece, 14-Inch, Charcoal
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Amount Per Serving:Calories: 650 Total Fat: 46g Saturated Fat: 8g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 35g Cholesterol: 88mg Sodium: 1671mg Carbohydrates: 30g Fiber: 9g Sugar: 15g Protein: 33g