I’m not actually anywhere near my kitchen right now. In fact, I’m out in the wilds of Vancouver Island with my family, camping outside the gates of the Island Music Fest. My laptop is being powered by one of my dad’s spare car batteries and I’m stealing wifi from one of the sound stages. Music is drifting across the Grassy Knoll. No, not that grassy knoll. The other one.
This recipe is one I made last week, before we drove up island to the Comox Valley for a week. Our culinary excursions here have consisted of reheating things we had made earlier on the tiny propane burner in the tiny little camper.
For the record, eggplant with minced pork (to be posted when we get back) reheats fabulously.
This is a whole other deal, though working within the porky paradigm. This is one we have eaten many times in Shanghai, though I have to limit my intake as Doug’s less of a green bean fan than I am. If I could, I’d live on spicy minced pork with green beans (and eggplant!).
It’s very easy to make and the prep can be done in instalments. Do a little bit, walk away, come back later and do more. Assemble and cook when you’re ready.
It goes well as a side dish or as a main dish with rice. We actually chopped up the leftovers into little pieces and used it to fill fresh Vietnamese rice rolls (you know, the discs that you soak briefly in warm water to soften), along with fresh cilantro, vinegared onions, scallions and a squeeze of fresh lime. Gorgeous. There are no photos of this because we ate EVERYTHING.
They call these dry fried string beans in English in the recipe (technically it’s dry stirred- gān biān 干煸 – whatever that means) but they’re actually fried in oil, which isn’t exactly parched.
I kind of want to call out a square dance with this one, but with a hearty sìjì dòu instead of a do-si-do.
Ladies and gents, I give you pork ‘n beans. Kind of.
500 gram long green beans (se dou/snake beans work best)
100 gram ground pork
20 gram leek/scallion
20 gram garlic
30 gram pickled ya cai (or substitute with pickled radish/zha cai)*
10 gram dried small shrimp (xia mi)
dried chilies (optional)
Now, as you can see, the recipe given is all metric. I hauled out our kitchen scales for it. We have all mod cons here in Canada. If you are limited to cups and spoons, I figured out that 100g of minced meat is about 1/2 a cup, roughly. For things like the garlic and whatnot, I roughly calculated it as 50g per half cup, chopped. Thus, most of them were about 1/4 cup, though I bumped up the garlic factor.
I omitted the small dried shrimp because I freaking HATE dried shrimp.
The pickled veggies were found in Chinatown. If you can’t find them where you are, you could probably use any other similar concoction. To be honest, it tasted a lot like thickly sliced sauerkraut. My guess is that these veggies are fermented rather than straight up pickled.
Get your wok out and heat about 4-5 cm of oil in the bottom until bubbles form around an inserted chopstick. If you plunge it in, vertically, the bubbles will rise up along it when it’s hot enough. It’s quite a trip.
I was using a rather frustrating electric stove so had to heat it on quite high then quickly turn it down to medium once the bubbles appeared to prevent boiling. It’d be easier to control on a gas stove.
Carefully lower in some of the beans. You don’t want to over crowd it as it’ll lower the temperature.
I added a lot of crushed dried chilies…
Add a little sesame oil just before you remove it from heat.