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Dry-Seared Green Beans

New format recipe

From Irene Kuo, The Key to Chinese Cooking

Serves: 4


  • 1.5 lbs. green beans
  • 1 c. oil
  • 1/4 lb. ground pork
  • 1 tbs. dried shrimp
  • 1 tbs. minced Szechuan preserved mustard stems
  • 1 tbs. Tientsin preserved vegetable
  • Seasonings:
    • 2 tbs. light soy sauce
    • 2 tbs. dry sherry
    • 1/2 tsp. sugar
    • 2 tbs. water
    • 1 tbs. sesame oil
  • 1 tbs. finely chopped scallion greens


  1. Rinse and dry green beans; break off ends. March-chop ground pork to loosen. Cover dried shrimp with boiling water and soak for 30 minutes; drain and mince fine.
  2. Heat oil in large wok or deep fryer, to 375F. Deep fry green beans until wrinkled and blistered, in multiple batches. Dry on paper towels.
  3. Return 3 tbs. oil to pan. Scatter in pork, breaking up into small bits. Stir until it begins to brown; then add minced shrimp and pickled vegetables. Add green beans, turning over a few times. Add seasonings and scallions; stir in sweeping motions until liquid is absorbed. Serve.


  • This is modified from Kuo's recipe. She omits the Tientsin vegetable (a salted cabbage) and includes 1/2 tsp. salt. She also offers a variation with no shrimp and no Szechuan vegetable, but with 1 tbs. Tientsin vegetable and 1 tsp. chili-pepper oil. I prefer my version, everything but the hot oil. Of course, if you're addicted to hot spices, you know what to do.
  • The Szechuan vegetable is basically preserved in chili pepper and salt, so I wash it off before using. I frequently go well over the recipe quantities of pork, dried shrimp and/or pickled vegetables. I also don't discriminate between scallion greens and whites. If you strictly follow the recipe the green will dominate the dish and it will look better, but the green beans are almost tasteless in this dish (except for the absorbed seasonings), while the shrimp and vegetables have very strong tastes. I've made this dish dozens of times, and no one has ever complained -- although I've gotten some gasps.
  • Of all the dishes I've fixed, this was my mother's favorite. Of all her dishes, my favorite was fresh Kentucky Wonders braised with a little onion and bacon. I've never reproduced her recipe, probably because I've never taken the trouble of growing my own beans.

Keywords: Chinese, Vegetables, Green Beans.