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Sichuan dry-fried green beans

Lately, its been incredibly hot in Northern California.  These past few days have registered over 90 degrees farenheit, so I haven’t been much in the mood to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  I actually have been wanting to bake some banana bread, and even have the blackened bananas ready to go, but the thought of turning the oven on for an hour makes me wilt.  Anyone know how long blackened bananas keep before they actually start turning moldy?  They’re in the fridge, so maybe that will buy me some time.

Green beans went on sale last week, giving me an excuse to make Sichuan dry-fried green beans again.   Sichuan dry-fried green beans is one of my favorite vegetable dishes to order at a Chinese restaurant.  I love green beans in general, and I find the spicy, salty, savory flavor of Sichuan dry-fried green beans positively addictive.  When we first moved into our apartment a year ago and I finally had a usable kitchen, this dish was top on my list of “learn-how-to-make” dishes.  Since then, I’ve probably made this dish at least half a dozen times, if not more.  I had to stop for a while because Hubs started complaining we were eating this every month.  Apparently he doesn’t love green beans as much as I do.  This is a recipe I’ve created from a variety of different recipes and techniques, and tweaked it to suit my own preferences.

Sichuan Dry-Fried Green Beans

3 T vegetable oil
1 pound green beans
3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3-4 generous T Sichuan preserved vegetable (pickled mustard root), finely chopped
Chili bean sauce to taste
1/2 t sesame oil
1 t sugar
1/2 t kosher salt, or salt to taste
1/4 lb. ground pork

Begin by prepping the green beans.  You can use regular green beans or the long beans found in Asian markets.  I’ve used both with good results.  Wash and thoroughly dry the green beans, chop both ends off, then cut into 2-inch long pieces.  This step can be done ahead of time to ensure the green beans are dry or 99% dry by cooking time.  They aren’t called “dry-fried green beans” for nothing.

In a small pan, heat one tablespoon of vegetable oil over medium heat.  Cook the ground pork until it is done, breaking the meat up into small pieces.  Once it is cooked, transfer the ground pork to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil.

Heat oil in a large frying pan or wok until it is just beginning to smoke.  Add the green beans and stir-fry, constantly moving the green beans around, until the outsides begin to blister and the green beans start to wilt (approx five to six minutes).  Remove and set aside.

Into the same pan, add the garlic, preserved Sichuan vegetable, and chili bean sauce.  I usually use two heaping spoonfuls of chili bean sauce because I like it spicy, but you can use less.  Mix together and cook until fragrant, about one minute.  Return beans and ground pork to the wok.  Add sesame oil, sugar and salt.  Stir until well-combined.  Transfer to a serving plate and eat immediately.

Serves 2-4 as part of a multi-course meal.