Saturday, September 19, 2009

Spicy Chinese Long Beans

It must be the combination of my Chinese heritage and my foodie-ism (is that even a word?), but Asian food markets are to me what candy shops are to little kids. I can spend (and likely have spent) hours in one, much to the frustration of my boyfriend. Twenty types of bean sauce? I'm fascinated. Fresh tofu? Is there anything tastier? (Yes, tofu DOES have its own flavor and yes, I love it!) Sweet black sesame-filled buns? Swooooon.

But my favorite has got to be the fresh produce section. Row after row of familiar and exotic (even to me) fruits and vegetables. And they're darned cheap too! After missing out on fresh green beans due to a hectic summer at work, these pretty Chinese yard-long beans easily seduced me during our recent Asian market outing.

As the name suggests, long beans can grow up to 3 feet long! They taste similar to the green beans you're used to but are both chewier and less sweet. You can find more information about them here and my fast but flavorful stir-fry recipe after the jump.

Chinese Long Beans Stir-fry [Printable Recipe]
Serves 4 to 6

XIAOLU'S NOTE: These beans should be available at most Asian markets, but you can substitute green beans for a somewhat different but still delicious texture and taste.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 tablespoons of preserved mustard (za cai)
3 dried red chili peppers, or to taste
2 cloves garlic
1 bunch (about 1 1/2 lbs) long beans
1 tablespoons oyster sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine
1 teaspoon sugar
salt to taste

Snap or cut all the ends off of the long beans, then wash and dry them. Slice the beans into 1 to 1 1/2" pieces. Roughly chop the preserved mustard and mince the garlic.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan or wok over medium-high heat. Break the dried red peppers in half and add them to the pan. Throw in the preserved mustard and garlic, and cook until fragrant, stirring frequently to avoid burning the garlic (which turns it bitter and gross).

Add the long beans and cook several minutes until it begins to soften. Mix in the oyster sauce, soy sauce, rice wine, and sugar. Continue cooking until beans are tender but not mushy (but long beans are supposed to be a little chewy so don't judge them by green bean standards). Taste and add salt if necessary. Serve hot with steamed rice and chili garlic sauce.

Chinese Long Bean on Foodista


  1. Your blog is beautiful- I will for sure be adding it to my blog roll! Thanks for stopping by my own blog.

  2. Thanks so much, Koko! Please come by anytime =D. I've been a silent subscriber of your blog some time and your photos are lovely too! Btw, I almost bought that cool martini glass the other day.

  3. Wow those are LONG beans!!! I think this recipe would be perfect for green haricot beans too?! My husband loves them and Im always looking for new ways to cook them! Thanks!

  4. Hehe the name is very appropriate, right? I admit I haven't tried this with haricot beans, but I don't see why they wouldn't work. The end result will probably just be crisper and sweeter, which sounds nice to me!

  5. OH! LONG BEANS! I'm in middle of switching from a dominantly meat diet to something healthier. This seems like a good place to start! thanx yo yo yo!

  6. Foodie-ism - definitely a word. For sure. No questions asked. And Chinese supermarkets - also an addiction of mine. I'm not allowed to go in them anymore.

    I love this recipe! Never had long beans before but can imagine how good they are.

  7. We cook these a lot in my part of India and the taste is so much better than French beans.

  8. Alecho - Congrats on trying to eat healthier. I love simple stirfrys like these as a flavorful way to serve veggies.

    Joanne - I'm glad I'm not the only addict and I hope you sneak into them occasionally anyway ;p.

    Aparna - I didn't realize that these were used in Indian cooking too and I bet your preparation is delicious.

  9. Ive been having s much fun going through your recipes. I'd love to try this recipe with some long beans or green beans...Yum!I'd love to guide our readers to your site if you won't mind.Just add your choice of foodista widget to this post and it's all set, Thanks!

  10. Thanks, Alisa! I've added the widget. I've never been to the Foodista site before. Very neat!

  11. I love it! Very creative!That's actually really cool.


  12. I just found your blog (through the photography tips post) and I LOVE IT. The way you describe Chinese supermarkets is exactly how I much fun to just browse and browse and then end with a happy surprise at the cash register (I'm always stunned at how cheap everything is!) Long beans are yummy and I can't wait to give this a try!


I love hearing from you all! Please leave me a message if you have questions, advice, or just to let me know you stopped by. Your feedback is always very much appreciated. Thanks! <3 Xiaolu