Sichuan Crispy-Fried Long Beans
This is a classic Sichuan bean dish that offers great, robust flavor as well as a wonderful, almost crispy mouth feel. It is a great alternative to steamed beans, offering a true Asian component to traditional bean flavors. Like most stir fry cooking, practice makes perfect, and you'll want to make this one over and over again.
¾ pound long beans (or green beans)
¼ cup peanut or vegetable oil
5 or 6 dried red chilies
¼ teaspoon ground or crushed Sichuan pepper
2 Tbs minced garlic
1 Tsp minced or grated fresh ginger
3 scallions, white parts only, thinly sliced
4 ounces fresh shiitake or cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
1 ½ Tsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 ½ Tsp chili bean sauce
½ Tsp sesame oil
1 Tsp sugar
½ Tsp salt, plus more to taste
1. Rinse the beans and dry them thoroughly; even a small amount of water will cause oil in the wok to spit and keep the beans from crisping. Cut the beans into 2-inch lengths.
2. Prepare the sauce: In a small bowl, stir together the rice wine, chili bean sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and salt until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
3. Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat until a bead of water sizzles and evaporates on contact. Add the peanut oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Add the beans and stir-fry, keeping the beans constantly moving, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the outsides begin to blister and the beans are wilted. Turn off the heat, remove the beans and set aside, uncovered, to drain on paper towels.
4. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of oil and reheat the wok. Add the chilies, Sichuan pepper, garlic, ginger, and scallions and stir-fry until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry for another 1 minute, until the mushrooms have browned and started to crisp. Add the sauce. Return the beans to the wok and stir-fry for another 1 minute. Transfer to a plate and serve hot.