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CHINESE NEW YEAR: Chinese Long Beans

It’s Chinese New Year: The Year Of The Horse begins today (the actual year is 4712). Make a Chinese-inspired dish.

Chef Daniel Boulud take Chinese long beans, steamed them and tied them into knots, topped with chicken (see the photo below).

What a fun way to get people to eat more green beans!

Our recipe, below, is much simpler, and the Chinese-style beans can be served with any dish that pair with green beans.

You can find Chinese long beans in Asian markets, or plan ahead and grow your own yard-long string beans with these string bean seeds from Burpee.

You can substitute regular green beans, which are just as tasty, if not as striking in appearance.

 


Chinese long beans. Photo courtesy Burpee.

 
RECIPE: CHINESE LONG BEANS

Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1 tablespoon peanut or sesame oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce*
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  •  
    *Available in the Asian products section of most supermarkets, in Asian specialty stores and online; Lee Kum Kee is a quality brand. See more about oyster sauce below. You can substitute Hoisin sauce, but it gives the dish a sweeter flavor than the pungent oyster sauce.

     


    Daniel Boulud’s long bean knots with
    chicken. Photo by Richard Patterson |
    RichardPattersonPhoto.com | Restaurant
    Daniel.

      Preparation

    1. HEAT peanut oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the garlic, and cook until the edges begin to brown, about 20 seconds.

    2. ADD the beans; cook and stir until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

    3. STIR in the sugar, oyster sauce and soy sauce. Continue cooking/stirring for several minutes until the beans have attained the desired degree of tenderness.
     
    WHAT IS A CHINESE LONG BEAN?

    Its botanical name is Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis. It is best known as the long bean or Chinese yardlong bean, but also as the asparagus bean, bora, long-podded cowpea, pea bean, snake bean and yardlong bean. The pods are actually about half a yard long; the subspecies name sesquipedalis means “one and a half feet long” (half a yard).

     

    While its flavor is similar to the green bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), it is from a different genus. In fact, it is a member of the cowpea species, which includes blackeyed peas.

     
    WHAT IS OYSTER SAUCE?

    A popular condiment in Chinese and Filipino cuisines, oyster sauce is often used in stir fries and as a topping for steamed vegetables.

    The viscous sauce is prepared from oysters and brine. A true oyster sauce is aromatic with intense flavor, and is expensive. Most oyster sauces on the market are cheaper, diluted solutions of concentrated ones. There are also vegan versions made from mushrooms.

    Oyster sauce was invented in 1888 by Mr. Lee Kam-Sheung of Nam Shui Village in Guangdong Province, Chinas, an island where oysters were abundant.

    Originally born in another village, Lee was a farmer who had to leave town following threats from local gangsters. He opened a restaurant in his new village, using the local oysters to make stock. One day he forgot about a pot of stock on the stove, and when he returned to it the stock had boiled down to a thick, aromatic and delicious sauce: a happy accident!*

    His company, Lee Kum Kee, continues to produce oyster sauce along with a wide variety of fine Asian condiments.

    *Source: Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship in Hong Kong: A Casebook, edited by Ali F. Farhoomand. Here’s the page reference.

      




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