Monday, June 16, 2008

Sichuan Dry Fried Green Beans

I have yet to meet anyone who doesn't like this dish.

When we go to Chinese restaurants, we always order family style. We all sit around, stare at the menu, and pick a dish we like for everyone to share. As we're picking our dishes, we often take into consideration other people's opinions and will ask - "Do you guys like ...?" with which other people will respond "Sure, that sounds good." or "Not really, but go ahead and order it, there'll be plenty of other things for me to eat." But whenever someone says, "Hey, do you guys like sichuan dry fried green beans?", I never hear that second response. Instead, it's often followed by several "Oh, I loove that dish!" or "YAH! I was thinking of getting that one too!" which is then followed by a friendly discussion about who gets to "have" that dish and who has to go scouring the menu for something else. And when the green beans finally make it to the table, it always gets gobbled up, leaving no leftovers, and the person who ordered it feels a sense of pride because the dish they picked was so popular.

It's kinda silly how attached we get to the dish we're "responsible" for. It's like a popularity contest. We interpret the praises our dish receives as personal compliments and even occasionally rub it in the faces of our fellow diners who picked less "successful" dishes. And if your dish remains untouched at the end of the night, flashbacks of getting picked last out on the playground come rushing back.

In the end, the moral of the story is - if you haven't tried this dish yet, try it. And if you're ordering family style at a Chinese restaurant, order this one. It's gauranteed to make you feel like prom king/queen for the night. =P

Oh, and I've found another great blogging event that I want to be a part of. Kalyn's Kitchen sponsors Weekend Herb Blogging which is being hosted by Paulchen's FoodBlog this week.

Ingredients:

- 3 handfuls of green beans (yes, I'm great at measuring things)
- 1/4 lb ground meat (pork is best. The meat is actually entirely optional since the beans are the star of this show)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 tbs soy sauce (or to taste)
- preserved radishes (optional)

(preserved radishes)

Method:
- Prep your ingredients. Wash the green beans, cut off the ends, and cut the longer beans in half for easier cooking and eating. Dry the green beans well since you're going to be dumping them in hot oil and would probably like to minimize the splatter. Mince the garlic.
- Heat a good amount of oil in a pan over high heat. You can even deep fry the green beans if you'd like, but it seemed like a hassle to heat up a ton of oil for deep frying a few beans. If you don't mind the hassle, go for it.
- Dump the green beans in the oil and fry the heck out of them! I have yet to encounter an overcooked green bean but have eaten many undercooked ones, and it's not good. Trust me, even if it looks all black and burnt, that's okay! It's supposed to be that way! In fact, it's better that way! Fry them until they're all shriveled up and have char marks all over the place. When you bite into them, there should be no "squeakiness" left in them (hopefully you know what I mean by that and don't think I'm crazy). You may find this easier to do in smaller batches for quicker and more even cooking. It's up to you though.
- Take out the green beans and put them on some paper towels or a cooling rack to get rid of some of that oil.
- Dump the excess oil out of the pan (unless you like your food greasy) and turn the heat down (you don't need super high heat for the meat).
- Add the garlic and ground meat and half of the soy sauce in the pan and brown the meat until cooked through.
- Add the preserved radishes and shriveled green beans back in along with the rest of the soy sauce and toss until everything is warmed through.
- Serve over rice and bask in the glory of all the compliments you'll receive!

5 comments:

dp said...

Oh, I do love this dish too. We have a place down the street that serves it (or something similar because I think there' hoisin or something in their sauce). The reason it tastes so good is the "oil-blanching" of the green beans. But like you, it seems like a hassle when you do it at home.

Kalyn said...

Sounds delicious. I love to order this in restaurants! I haven't seen preserved radishes, will look for them.

Katie said...

I LOOOVE sichian green beans. These look good!

Joelen said...

This is definitely one we order out and thanks for posting this so I try making it at home. :)

Jude said...

This reminds me a lot of a side dish I used to have as a kid. thanks for the recipe :)