If you read my blog you know I love my long beans. I pretty much eat them once a week. The other day I was inspired to change the way I cook my long beans when I read Barbara's post about dry frying on her blog, Tiger and Strawberries.
It wasn't until last night when I was reading one of my Chinese cookbooks that I decided to try the dry fry techinique, also called gan bian. The cookbook I used uses more oil than Barbara did when frying her beans.
According to my cookbook you should heat up about an inch of canola oil in your wok until it reaches 375 degrees (this is for 1 lb. of green beans). Fry beans, sitrring occasionally, until the beans are wrinkled and blistered. It took me about 6 minutes to achieve this effect with the long beans.
I then removed the long beans from the wok and let them drain on a paper bag. I poured out all but 1-2 T. of the oil and cooked a 1/4 lb. of ground pork in the wok until the pork was brown (about 3 minutes). Then I added the beans back to the wok and poured in the sauce (1 T. soy, 1 T. dry sherry, 2 T. chicken broth, 1 t. sugar). The beans were cooked until they absorbed the sauce and my meal was done.
This is an extremely satisfying dish and while it's not all that healthy I'm going to have a hard time not cooking my long beans this way from now on. Next time I make this dish I will try using less oil and see if it cooks the same way.
While it's not the prettiest dish, it's versatile and delicious. You can omit the pork, add dried shrimp and Sichuan preserved turnip or green onions. Normally I stir fry my steamed long beans with ginger and garlic but these dry fried beans don't need the garlic and ginger. They are extremely flavorful with just the small amount of sauce.
I am so excited about this dish and highly recommend it. You can use green beans if you have trouble finding long beans in your area. The cooking time will most likely be cut in half with green beans.