Chinese long beans; also called yardlong beans, long-podded cowpeas, snake beans and numerous other names; were a new discovery for me when I first seriously tried to learn more about Chinese cooking. Common in Southeast Asia and southern China, these are not the bean that I grew up with. Actually the “long bean” is really the immature bean pod which is better if it is young and fairly slender. They’re very healthy, containing protein, vitamins including vitamin C as well as iron and other essential minerals. Most importantly, they’re fun to make because they’re so long and unusual looking and they taste great.
Szechuan-style Chinese long beans
1 medium bunch Chinese long beans, cleaned and chopped into about 4 inch pieces
6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tsp. chili garlic sauce or more to taste
2 tbs. oil for stir frying
salt to taste
generous splash of soy sauce
In dry pan, fry long beans for 8 to ten minutes until they become somewhat blackened. Remove beans from pan. 2. Add oil, garlic and chili garlic sauce to pan. (I use Tuong Ot Toi Viet-Nam brand chili garlic sauce but really any will do.) Sautee for a minute until garlic aroma becomes noticeable. 3. Add long beans back to pan and mix with fried garlic sauce. Add salt and splash of soy sauce. Cover to warm thoroughly. Serve.
I serve this with rice and other Szechuan inspired dishes like Szechuan eggplant. This week I was rushed so made it with rice and pinto beans as a sort of Old World/New World weirdcombination. Yum!