Monday, March 7, 2016

Szechuan-Style Dry-Cooked String Beans (Gan Bian Si Ji Dou)

This classic Szechuan dish can be made with or without ground pork, but I like the flavor and extra protein that the meat imparts so this recipe includes it. The beans are quickly blanched in very hot oil until they start to pucker and then drained before they are added back to the pan and tossed with a mixture of ground Szechuan peppercorns, chiles, chopped Szechuan preserved mustard stems, minced ginger, garlic, green onion, dried shrimp, soy sauce, and sesame oil sautéed with ground pork. If you can't find or don't have the chopped Szechuan preserved mustard stems on hand, you can substitute with some hot bean paste and a little splash of black vinegar, which is what I did in this case. A saucy dish without actually being saucy. 

1 1/2 lbs. Chinese long beans or regular string beans, cut into 3" sections (washed & patted dry)
4-5 cups vegetable oil

1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp. minced fresh ginger
3 tbsp. chopped green onion
6 oz. ground pork or beef
2 tbsp. dried shrimp, rehydrated and finely chopped
1 tbsp. Szechuan preserved mustard stems, finely chopped
1 tbsp. hot bean sauce (omit or add less if using Szechuan preserved mustard)
1 tbsp. black vinegar (omit or add less if using Szechuan preserved mustard)
1/4 tsp. ground Szechuan peppercorns
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. salt, or to taste

1. Heat 4-5 cups of oil in a large pan or wok over medium high heat until very hot. Using a spider or large slotted spoon, add the green beans to the pan and stir gently for 5-6 minutes or until the beans just barely start to brown and the skins begin to pucker. Remove the beans to a bowl, set aside and let drain (to soak up more oil, you can place paper towels at the bottom of the bowl).

2. Remove all but about 2 tbsp. of the oil from the pan. Bring back up to medium heat, then add the minced garlic, ginger and green onion. Saute for 10-15 seconds until the mixture is fragrant, then add the ground pork. Break up the pork with a spatula and cook for several minutes until the meat has lost most of its pinkness. 

3. Stir in the remaining ingredients and stir fry for 1-2 minutes until the seasonings are well-incorporated with the pork. 

4. Add the green beans back to the pan and stir well to combine. 

5. Plate on a serving dish and serve with steamed white rice on the side. 

 Blanch the green beans (make sure to dry them well first with paper towels) in hot oil until they just barely start to brown and the skins begin to pucker.

 Remove the beans to a bowl and set aside to drain.

 Leave about 2 tbsp. of oil in the same pan and saute the minced garlic, ginger, and scallions for a few seconds until fragrant.

 Add the pork and cook until the meat has lost its pinkness; add the remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. When all is done, add the green beans and toss to combine.

1 comment:

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