Yard-long beans, also known as Chinese long beans are just fun – they don’t taste much different from regular green beans, but these long, long, snake-y beans are a current favorite. According to Sunset Magazine, you can try growing your own and can buy seeds locally or online from Lake Valley Seed. We get our beans from New May Wah grocery store in the Richmond and have been experimenting using them in different ways. Since these long beans are pliable, I find them much less tedious to cut up than regular green beans. Stacie and I also served them as part of the meal at a recent Indonesian cooking class we taught (recipe below).
I have been stuck in a cooking rut over the summer and the kiddo and hubby are a bit bored of me feeding them the same ten things over and over again. My post summer resolution is to try a couple of new recipes every week. So far the past two days, I have tried two new recipes already and am trying another new one today. This new found gusto, which I am sure is not going to last, is totally being enjoyed by the “mini-gourmand” in our house-hold.
Here are some of our favorite ways to cook yard long beans. They turn a bright dark green when cooked and can be turned into salads, stir-fries and delicious side dishes. You can get the kids engaged by playing with the beans (snake puppets and pretending the beans are long hair) and even having them help you cut them up.
Ideas adapted from Sunset Magazine
Stir-fried with pork
Cut long beans to desired length. Stir-fry until blistered and mostly tender; remove beans from pan. Stir-fry ground pork (we used chicken) for about 2 minutes; add dry sherry (used Chinese cooking wine), soy sauce, and Asian chili garlic sauce, and then finish cooking pork. Add beans; stir until combined. I used very little chilli sauce and it can be omitted if you desire. I also, used 2-3 cloves of garlic while blistering the beans. Served as part of a rice bowl with a runny fried egg. Little one devoured it and took it for school lunch the next day. Forget the PBJ. :) Very fast, easy and satisfying dinner.
Cut long beans into bite-size pieces. Boil until tender, about 4 minutes, then plunge into ice water to stop cooking. Toss with a walnut oil and sherry vinaigrette, chopped shallots, and parsley sprigs. We have also tried these blanched beans with a prepared store-bought, roasted sesame Japanese dressing. YUM!!
Glazed with butter
Boil whole long beans until tender. Drain, then toss with softened cilantro-lime butter. Simple and good – great side to our pan steamed fish with ginger and scallions.
In fried rice
Prepare fried rice, adding chopped long beans when stir-frying the vegetables. Have not tried this one, but will soon.
Green Beans in Sweet Soy – Tumis Kacang Panjang
Adapted from Indonesian Cooking by Dina Yuen
This dish is as simple as it gets, with very little preparation and a short cooking time. A wonderful side dish to meats or poultry or with tofu/shrimp added, a meal in itself. A little sweet, a little salty, and add as much spice as you want to, this Indonesian stir-fry lends intense flavors to crisp, fresh beans. This recipe works well with other vegetables (broccoli, carrots, cauliflower etc.) as well.
- 1 ¼ lbs beans, rinsed, trimmed and sliced
- 1 ½ tbsp oil
- 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1-2 bird’s eye chilli peppers, sliced thinly on the bias (optional)
- 1 ½ tbsp sweet soy sauce (kecap manis)
- 1 ½ tbsp regular soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sambal oelek paste (can omit for kids)
- Heat the oil in a wok over high heat. Toss in the garlic, and if using, the chilli peppers. Saute the garlic and chilli until lightly browned and fragrant.
- Add the green beans, sweet soy sauce, soy sauce and sambal oelek. Saute for 2-3 minutes until the green beans are crisp but tender.