If you’re like me, you will often realise you have bought something entirely out of season (in this instance: fine green beans in the deepest depths of winter), and then have to think long and hard about what to do with your unseasonable produce because, again, if you’re like me you will hate the idea of wasting it. I can’t actually remember why I bought two packets of green beans, but I needed to think of something to do with them. Luckily, this week ushered in the Chinese New Year, which inspired me to look at my Gok Cooks Chinese book; and I found this perfect recipe …
I love green beans, and I love Chinese food, and I love Gok Wan and his book for making Chinese food healthy like with this green bean recipe. You can either eat this as a side dish alongside the makings of a full on Chinese feast, or it makes a yummy vegetarian main course if you eat it with some egg fried rice.
Serves 2 as a main course, or 4 as a side dish.
Groundnut oil – a glug
Ginger – a thumb sized piece, cut into matchsticks
Garlic – 2 cloves, very finely sliced
Red birdseye chilli – 1, very finely chopped
Cashew nuts* – a handful
Green beans (french/dwarf/fine) – 250g
Water chestnuts – ½ of a small can, sliced
Shaoxing rice wine – 1 tablespoon
Nam Pla (Fish Sauce) – 2 teaspoons
Light soy sauce – 3 tablespoons
Ground white pepper – a large pinch
Sesame oil – 2 teaspoons
*This isn’t the exact recipe which can be found in Gok’s book; I didn’t have the dried shrimps that he adds, he uses peanuts instead of cashews (again I didn’t have any of these) and, finally, I didn’t think it needed the caster sugar he adds. I think I’ll have to take a trip to the Chinese supermarket, because I don’t think I’ve ever seen dried shrimps in Sainsbury’s (even in Leicester, where our world food aisles take up half the store).
- As with many Chinese recipes, the actual cooking part of this recipe is done in the blink of an eye, so get everything prepped and sat next to the cooker before going any further.
- Top and tail your beans and cook on a rolling simmer (i.e. not boiling, but noticeably doing something) until al dente. Drain*.
- Heat the groundnut oil, and fry the ginger, garlic and chilli.
- Add the cashews and let them caramelize a little.
- Now add all of the remaining ingredients; let them sizzle for a few minutes, and ten serve.
*You could do the whole add to iced water to retain their colour but, to be honest, I don’t see the point because the recipe is so quick they won’t have a chance to discolour anyway.