Dry-Seared Green Beans
Source: Irene Kuo, The Key to Chinese Cooking
- 1.5 lb green beans
- 1 c oil
- 0.25 lb ground pork
- 1 tbs dried shrimp
- 1 tbs Szechuan preserved vegetable
- 1 tbs Tientsin preserved vegetable
- 2 tbs soy sauce
- 2 tbs Chinese wine
- 0.5 tsp sugar
- 2 tbs water
- 1 tbs sesame oil
- 1 tbs scallion greene, finely chopped
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. Rinse Szechuan preserved vegetable; mince. Mince Tientsin preserved vegetable. Arrange shrimp and preserved vegetables on a small dish.
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.
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, you can add hot oil or dried chili flakes to taste.
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.
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.
I've tried substituting chopped (relatively lean "center cut") bacon
for the ground pork. It works fine, although it tends to make an already
salty dish even saltier.