Dry-fried Beans and Bamboo Shoots
The actual purpose of this recipe is to showcase some Brine-Packed Bamboo Shoots I featured in a recent post. However, the recipe itself is a modification of a very popular Sichuan dish called ‘Dry-Fried Four Season Beans’, the beans being a variety of the common green runner bean that is usually cooked to a nasty tasteless greyness in western kitchens. In this Sichuan specialty, the beans are generally deep-fried first in order to make them deliciously crisp-tender, and are then pan-fried with other ingredients. Typically, the additions will be garlic, ginger and chili, but non-vegetarian versions can include ground pork, dried shrimp, or even both…
- 10-12 thin Bamboo Shoots;
- 1 large handful of fresh Green Beans, neatly trimmed but left whole;
- 8 – 10 dried Shrimp (use the larger, slightly moist variety if possible);
- 2 tbsp. Rice Wine;
- 2 tbsp. Soy Sauce;
- 2 tbsp. Sugar;
- 1 tbsp. Ginger, finely chopped;
- 2 tbsp. dried Red Chili, cut into small sections.
Combine the rice wine with 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce and 1 teaspoon of the sugar and marinate the bamboo shoots in this mixture for an hour or so. For aesthetic effect, you may wish to trim away enough of the thick ends to make them roughly the same length as the beans.
Put the shrimp in a small container and cover them with a little warm water. After they have softened (roughly 30 minutes to an hour), chop them fairly finely but reserve the soaking water.
Heat a cup or so of oil in the wok and fry the green beans until the skins start to wrinkle and blister and show a few brown flecks here and there and then remove from the oil to a separate bowl.
Now, drain the bamboo shoots of the marinade, pat dry, and then deep fry them as well. After they are just getting a little brown, and even a touch crispy at the tips, remove to the same bowl as the beans.
Drain the wok of all but a tablespoon or two of oil and, when the oil is shimmering hot, add the ginger and chili. As soon as these give of their aroma, add in the shrimp and the soaking water along with the remaining sugar.
When the soaking liquid in the wok has all but evaporated, add in the beans, bamboo shoots and the remaining soy sauce. Toss until all is combined and heated through then plate and serve immediately.
I very much like green beans done this way and the bamboo was a nice addition although I have to confess that I was not especially impressed with this brand. Indeed, it was after tasting an uncooked piece that I decided to marinate the shoots before further use. Also, in a future attempt, I may use a little ground pork instead of shrimp just to see how that works with the bamboo. All in all, though, this was pretty darn good…