Ever had Chinese long beans? They are super delicious! Like regular green beans, but without the bitter starchiness; which means they lend themselves perfectly to quick-fry methods like this.
Of course, if you can’t find long beans, you can easily substitute regular green beans and just cook a tiny bit longer before you add the sugar and cashews. Adding the cashews gives you a bit more substance to a delicious appetizer, or serve on top of long-grain brown rice with some baked tofu and call it dinner. In fact, the only reason I hesitated to add tofu to the dish itself is because the heavy stirring at high temperatures is likely to break apart the tofu into little pieces of nothing, and prevent the proper formation of the crispy coating on the beans and cashews.
Ideally, this dish should be pretty spicy, with a touch of salty and sweet. But, as always, I encourage you to adjust the seasonings to your tastes.
Long Beans with Cashews
2 bunches long beans, or about 3 lbs green beans
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs toasted sesame oil
1 tsp (give or take) red chili flakes
3-5 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 Tbs soy sauce
1/2 Tbs rice wine vinegar
2 Tbs brown sugar
1/3-1/2 cup cashews
salt and pepper, to taste
Heat the oils on med heat in a high-sided, non-stick pan with the chili flakes. Add the garlic and ginger and stir with a wooden for 1-2 min. Add the beans. Turn the heat up to high and cook for several minutes, add the soy sauce and vinegar and place the lid on the pan. Shake the pan to stir frequently, and cook for a further 1-5 min. When beans are at desired consistency (should be still crunchy, but not raw tasting), add the cashews and brown sugar. Continue stirring and make sure everything is well coated with sugar. Once sugar has caramelized (about 2 min) remove from heat. Season with salt and black pepper (or crushed Szechuan pepper!) and serve hot.
**Next post will be about the politics of food, but I’m still thinking about what, exactly, I want to focus on, since nothing has outraged me lately