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Cookbook of the Month March 2013 EVERY GRAIN OF RICE: Beans and vegetables of all kinds

Welcome to Cookbook of the Month for March 2013, which is Every Grain of Rice by Fuchsia Dunlop.

Please post your full-length reviews of recipes for beans and vegetables here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing and the page number, if possible, as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

This thread is for the following chapters - please note I am using the British version of the book for the purposes of this thread:

Beans and peas - p148
Leafy greens - p166
Garlic and chives - p198
Aubergines, peppers and squashes - p208
Root vegetables - p224
Mushrooms - p230

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

Happy wokking!

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  1. Vegetarian 'Gong Bao Chicken' pg 236 (UK edition)

    What an excellent introduction to this book. After making this as a slightly time-consuming yet immensely satisfying lunch, I am eagerly looking forward exploring more recipes within the pages.

    To start, portobellos are cubed, blanched, and marinated in a starch/salt mixture for the duration of the prep. Since the large brown mushrooms are rather pricey in my area, I opted to use the biggest creminis I could get my hands on instead. I was rather happy with the results and wouldn't hesitate to do that again. Ginger, garlic, and green onion whites, seeded chiles and sichuan peppercorn make an appearance in this dish, and a lovely sweet/tart blend of sugar, dark & light soy, chinkiang vinegar, starch & salt (I omitted the latter-not really necessary) get tossed together for the sauce.
    The mushrooms are briefly stir-fried in a (un)healthy amount of oil until glossy and set aside. Most of the oil is poured off and the rest comes together very quickly, adding the chiles/peppercorns, the aromatics, the mushrooms, and the sauce to the wok in succession. A large handful of roasted peanuts get mixed in as the final flourish, and it's done.

    I found that there was perhaps a bit too much starch in the 'marinade', as the mushrooms were heartily clumping together during the first stir-fry session. I may reduce that for next time to see if that helps at all. As a personal preference, I may also slightly cut down on the peanut amount; there was almost too much crunch going on. I reserved the beautiful rich brown liquid leftover from the blanching for the base of a nice vegetarian stock.

    This was surprisingly wonderful. As one who likes but doesn't love mushrooms, this took the fungi to a whole new level of addictive deliciousness for me. The glossy dark sauce was every bit as tantalizing as the photo in the book, and it clung beautifully to the cubes. It was slightly sweet, tangy and bright-tasting with a hearty chew from the mushrooms and the crunch of the nuts, and although it didn't contain the sesame oil as in the other gong bao recipes, it wasn't missed. I enjoyed this very, very much and would be delighted to serve this to vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

     
    4 Replies
    1. re: Allegra_K

      Sounds great -- and I wouldn't ditch the mushrooms even if I added chicken.

      1. re: Allegra_K

        My mother-in-law (who's never read this book) sometimes makes it with cubed king oyster mushrooms, which works pretty well.

        I like a combination of cubed wheat gluten and cubed (fresh) water-chestnuts.

        1. re: will47

          I love king oyster mushrooms will, what a great idea.

        2. re: Allegra_K

          Allegra that looks and sounds lovely. Your plate is stunning too!

        3. Hangzhou Aubergines pg 212

          I am a huge fan of Dunlop's version of Fish-Fragrant Eggplant on the previous page and will never tire of it, but thought it might be nice to try something different. Enter this new way to prepare the most stunning of vegetables.

          The eggplants are sliced into thick-ish batons, salted and set aside to drain. After blotting they are deep fried until slightly golden. In a hot wok, a minuscule amount of minced pork is tossed to cook, and in goes ginger, sweet fermented sauce, a bit of stock, shaoxing wine, light & dark soy, and a touch of sugar. The aubergines return to the wok, all is thickened with a bit of potato starch, sprinkled with sliced green onion tops, and served.

          The sauce is thick with a deep sweet flavour from the hoisin (in fact 'sweet fermented sauce' is a perfect translation) with a light refreshment of onions. I have mixed feeling about the pork in the recipe, finding its texture competing too much with the silkiness of the eggplant, but welcoming the flavour. I may cook with a bit of lard for next time and omit the meat; the best of both worlds! If having this as the lone dish with rice, I would add a touch extra liquid to get it a bit saucier. While I did enjoy this recipe very much, it will not be replacing my old favourite. Still and all very good, and it will be repeated.

           
          27 Replies
          1. re: Allegra_K

            You sure do make everything wanted *now*! I appreciate these posts.
            I'm trying my first from the book tonight, a chicken dish, we'll see how it goes.

            1. re: Allegra_K

              I see you are going gangbusters straight out of the gate!

              Looks great. Meanwhile, just curious does FD call Hosin "sweet fermented sauce"? Hoisin in Chinese is "海鲜酱" which is literally "seafood sauce". There's another condiment called "甜麵酱" tian mian jiang, literally "sweet wheat paste", that I think of as "sweet fermented sauce"....they are pretty similar, but somehow I always thought they were two different sauces.

              1. re: qianning

                Page 336 (in the glossary) she says:
                "Sweet fermented sauce
                (tian mian jiang)
                Also sold, confusingly, as 'sweet bean sauce' and 'hoisin sauce,' this smooth, dark, glossy paste is made from fermented wheat and salt, sometimes with soy."
                So -- if I buy hoisin in an American grocery, I think I'm getting the right thing?

                1. re: blue room

                  I think she's actually saying it's not the same as the regular hoisin sauce and you should check that you are buying tian misn jiang rather than hoisin. I've seen the exact same packet in the picture in my Chinese supermarket. I agree that it's a little confusingly written.

                  1. re: greedygirl

                    Hmm -- I read it as Sweet Fermented Sauce is "also sold" as hoisin -- so it *is* the same..

                  2. re: blue room

                    These discussions and ingredients fascinate me. Makes me want to learn to read all the labels.

                    I don't know if anyone noticed this but in the UK edition the photo on p. 337 shows a pkg beneath the bowl of the sweet fermented sauce and it says "Hoisin Sauce".

                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                      But it's been mislabelled, I think that's the point. If you look at the Chinese characters they say tian mian jiang and not hoisin.

                      In one of her other books she specifies the brand that she buys, and it's labelled as sweet bean sauce not hoisin, which is a slightly different thing.

                      1. re: greedygirl

                        I see what you're saying gg. I just think it's odd to include a mis-labled item in a photo intended to aid readers in selecting appropriate ingredients.

                        Perhaps she included it to essentially say...don't buy Hoisin sauce unless it's this brand/packaging?

                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                          I think it's just that it's one of the few brands you can find here. The other one she mentions in her other books is actually Korean, I think the brand is Koon Chun.

                          Afaik until recently, hoisin was substituted because tian mian jiang was hard to find outside China and that's where the confusion has come from.

                          I also don't think Fuchsia would specify sweet fermented sauce if it was the same as hoisin - why would she?

                          1. re: greedygirl

                            I'm very confused about the hoisin sauce now, too. I also thought she was saying that sweet fermented sauce was the same as hoisin sauce, just that what was packaged is her preferred brand. It seems that a lot of hoisin sauces I can find, though are just soy, sugar and yam. I guess the sugar+yam=sweet and the soy=fermented bean, but I don't really know if that's the right way to look at it or not. Dunlop doesn't mention yam as an ingredient... I have the feeling the hoisin sauce we can find in bottles is going to be runnier than what's in that packet, which I imagine to be more of a paste...

                            ~TDQ

                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              It's not the same thing. In the glossary, she's just saying that one brand mislabels it as 'hoisin sauce'. Hoisin sauce is '海鲜' sauce, and has different ingredients.

                              What you want is tiánmiànjiàng (甜面酱 / 甜麵醬). If the Chinese characters on the package look the same as the one in her book, you're good to go. Mine says 'sweet flour sauce' on it in English.

                                1. re: will47

                                  will47, are we talking about the difference between
                                  Brand X Mayonnaise and Brand Z Mayonnaise (slight)--
                                  or the difference between mayonnaise and Miracle Whip (different but can be compared on many points)-
                                  or the difference between mayonnaise and turkey gravy -- (not the same thing) ?
                                  I mainly care about flavor, not authenticity, but I want it to be recognizable as a certain dish.
                                  I get the impression that hoison will work with recipes calling for Sweet Fermented because they are quite similar.
                                  What are the ingredients in one that aren't found in the other?

                          2. re: greedygirl

                            Tian mian jiang (sweet flour sauce) doesn't have the same flavourings added to it that hai xian jiang (hoisin, literal meaning seafood sauce) does. It's really better to get the TMJ if possible, hoisin sauce is a Cantonese thing...

                      2. re: qianning

                        Funny you mention that....I was sure that hoisin was something different as well (tho you would know much better than I) from reading her other books, and also from Mrs Chiang's Szechuan cookbook...but in this book she does indeed write they are the same. I did use sweet fermented sauce (well, my jar says sweet bean sauce) and thought it tasted different than hoisin. Hmm.

                        1. re: Allegra_K

                          Glad to hear you used "sweet bean sauce"....if you had used a "real" hoisin I'm pretty sure the results would have been indelibly sweet.

                          Fwiw here's my understanding of the difference between these two condiments:

                          Hoisin (海鲜酱), primary ingredient is sugar, it is usually used in small quantities on food that has been cooked, i.e. not added during cooking or over heat. Common uses are a light drizzle over blanched green vegetables like Jielan (芥藍) chinese broccoli and etc., or as a light spread in something rolled up like a viet-namese fresh roll.

                          Sweet Fermented Sauce (甜麵酱), which really has no "fixed" name in English and can show up on labels with lots of different English names, is a salty fermented product, only very slightly sweet. The primary ingredient traditionally was wheat, but now a days some brands are all or primarily made from soy.

                          Here are some pictures:
                          The two bottles in the right-hand picture are both different versions of Hoisin.

                          The yellow labeled bottle in to the right in the left-hand picture is a true tian mian jiang (甜麵酱) made with wheat, the blue labeled bottle to the left of the left-hand picture is a similar product, but made with soy (I didn't have on hand a bottle of soy based tian mian jiang, 'cause I don't use it).

                           
                           
                          1. re: qianning

                            Clearer it gets..
                            thank you, quianning. Because of the name "Sweet Fermented" I figured sugar was important in the flavor, but maybe not so much.

                            1. re: blue room

                              It is really confusing.

                              This Wikipedia artilcle on it is actually pretty good. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tianmian... --although I'd quibble over the similarity to hoisin (see above!) Also, since EGOR is focused on southern Chinese food, and my home-cooking background leans toward north China, there are lots of regional applications that I don't know, and don't want to lead folks astray.

                            2. re: qianning

                              It is pretty confusing in the glossary, though....I obviously totally misunderstood. Thanks for clearing it up! I wish I could go back and change my review so I don't seem so blatantly wrong, hah! Luckily I prefer sweet fermented paste anyway (I think I have the same brand as the one on the right in photo #1), so it made its way into the dish.

                              1. re: Allegra_K

                                I think this hoisin vs. tianmianjiang confusion happens every time we do an FD book....there must be some brand for sale in the UK that inverts the translation, and of course that's the brand FD recommends.

                                Sorry to have you feeling badly about your review, no need to the writing is excellent, and the dish looks gorgeous.

                                1. re: qianning

                                  Not at all, I appreciate the help! It's good that this has been cleared up so early in the game, it seems I wasn't the only one mislead by the wording.
                                  And thanks for the kind words.

                                  1. re: qianning

                                    Not sure this is the case - in Sichuan cookery/LOP, she says the closest thing to tian mian jiang is a Taiwanese sweet bean sauce made by a company called Mong Lee Shang, which is the only one I could find until recently. She nalso says hoisin can be used as an alternative dipping sauce, but specifies it is much sweeter.

                                    In the Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook there is no mention of hoisin at all, but another reference to the Mong Lee brand of sweet bean sauce.

                                    The one pictures in the book has appeared in my Chinese supermarket fairly recently, and is tian mian jiang wrongly labelled in English as hoisin sauce.

                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                      The local Asian market has sweet bean sauce in a can exactly like this one (of hot bean sauce). It is a Taiwanese brand. Do you or anyone know if this a good brand--or have a guess as to whether the sweet version might be tian mian jiang?

                                       
                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                        If it says 'tianmianjiang' in Chinese, it's the thing you want. Is it the same brand pictured?

                                        This is the right thing:
                                        http://www.chinesegrocery.us/index.ph...

                                        However, if the packaging is exactly the same, I am pretty sure this is a mainland Chinese brand (tianfupai) from Sichuan, and not a Taiwanese brand.

                                        I will suggest, though, that if you can get a smaller package, or a re-sealable jar, this would probably be better. See if you can find Lian How or Union Food brand.
                                        http://posharpstore.com/en-us/union-f...

                                        1. re: will47

                                          Thank you! Yes, that's it, and I can get a small can (6 oz). It does say "Made in Taiwan" on the back of the can.

                                          I also have a jar of what I think is the right thing from Posharp on order (I don't remember who recommended that site, but many thanks!), but it hasn't come yet.

                                2. re: qianning

                                  As usual, spot on, Elegant and Peaceful.

                            3. re: Allegra_K

                              Hangzhou Eggplant, p. 212

                              We really loved this--as much, I'd say, as the fish-fragrant. This time I followed the instructions faithfully and salted the eggplant. I made the variation with ground pork, using peanut oil for the initial eggplant frying, discarding it, and adding a T or so of grapeseed for the stir-fry.

                              Saisfying and delicious: two mouths, no leftovers.

                               
                            4. Chinese Cabbage with Vinegar Pg. 184

                              This was my first dish from the book, not because it jumped out at me as a must make, but simply because I had some bok choy that needed using up and I wanted a quick side to the Hot Pepper Shrimp from the Essential New York Times Book.

                              Overall this was pretty good but a bit ho hum. The recipe is very simple as she simply has you blanch sliced cabbage, then briefly stir fry and dress with a touch of chinkiang vinegar, salt and sugar. I did use a touch of cornstarch to thicken the very scant and elemental sauce, but I do agree that it is optional since there is very little sauce to speak of.

                              Again not bad, just ok. That being said, if I was preparing a veritable feast and wanted a very simply green accompaniment that didn't compete with the other dishes then this might be a way to go. I am relatively new to Fuschia but I am undaunted as I expect great things from this book.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: delys77

                                We've made this cabbage dish , Delys, and thought as you did... my words, "Not terribly vinegary but tender and mild. A great foil for spicy dishes."

                                1. re: delys77

                                  Chinese Cabbage with Vinegar Pg. 184

                                  I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this dish. At first bite I was surprised at how prevalent the vinegar was-though of course it's really the only thing in there besides salt-and found that its tartness was an unwelcome taste compared the the other dishes at the dinner table. The more I chewed, however, the more I found it to be a very agreeable, albeit simple, dish. After tasting other items and then coming back to the cabbage, I had the same reaction, mild bewilderment followed by pleasant acceptance. I think in order to really enjoy this it would need to be served with another similarly seasoned dish, or even on its own with a bit of rice.
                                  Oh, and I've all but given up on the seemingly unnecessary step of blanching my veggies, opting instead to save myself a pot to wash and stir frying to a gentle sear. The cabbage benefited greatly from that delightful wok hei. I think I would make this again.

                                  1. re: Allegra_K

                                    I like cabbage a bit browned too. This is a real homestyle dish, you could get cabbage when you couldn't get anything else much in the winter since it stores well.

                                  2. re: delys77

                                    I don't have my books handy but I do have a cabbage that needs using ... what is the difference between this cabbage dish and the hand torn cabbage with vinegar from RCC? And, which dish is better?

                                    1. re: Westminstress

                                      The EGOR recipe I thought had very subtle flavors, whereas the cabbage w vinegar had more spicy heat therefore a bit more oomph. However, I think they are both simple side dishes to expand the menu. Frankly, I think one isn't "better" than the other. Here's my report of the RCC cabbage. I made this past January for the first time...

                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4946...

                                    2. re: delys77

                                      Chinese Cabbage With Vinegar, Pg. 184
                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8522...

                                      I've made this recipe so many times I've stopped counting. I'm reporting on it again only because I augmented the ingredients with chopped celery, chopped carrot rounds, finely shredded green and Napa cabbages, 2 baby pak choy, and used balsamic vinegar since, horror of horrors, we were all out of the Chinkiang. Also I didn't blanch the cabbage but went straight to the stir-fry... And, didn't add the slurry at the end.

                                      In spite of all that we liked the finished dish which had extra texture and herbaceous flavors. It was a perfect side dish for the Firm Tofu and Peppers, and steamed brown basmati rice.

                                      1. re: delys77

                                        CHINESE CABBAGE WITH VINEGAR 醋溜白菜

                                        The thicker part of the cabbage was still slightly crunchy, while the leafy part was soft. The contrasting texture of the vegetable was nice. We also enjoyed the slightly vinegary flavor. It made me want to just keep on eating more and more of it.

                                         
                                      2. Chinese Broccoli in Ginger Sauce, pg. 182

                                        This little dish is a winner! This is a very easy prep for Chinese broccoli which has already been repeated with variations in my house. Basically to blanch the broccoli and then stir fry some ginger, add Shaoxing wine and 1/2 tsp sugar and then stir fry the broccoli. There is the option to thicken the sauce with a potato flour/water slurry, although I must admit there's never been much sauce left in the pan for me. I have made this with both Chinese broccoli and baby american broccoli with the long stems. We like it both ways, although I find I have to be careful to squeeze out the water from the leaves of the CHinese Broccoli before the stir fry.

                                        17 Replies
                                          1. re: greeneggsnham

                                            CHINESE BROCCOLI IN GINGER SAUCE – p. 182

                                            Big thanks to greeneggsandham for her enticing review; hearing that she’d made it several times moved it right up my list. We really enjoyed this and mr bc even had seconds…unheard of when it comes to leafy greens!

                                            It’s amazing how a little bit of sugar can go such a long way in lifting the flavours of the greens. The leaves had all been kissed w a hint of sweetness and the punch of the ginger really enhanced the fresh flavours.

                                            I found the recipe online here:

                                            http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...

                                             
                                             
                                            1. re: greeneggsnham

                                              +1 for this recipe. Easy to make, simple flavors, really enjoyed it.

                                              I also didn't have much liquid left in the pan, but scraped the ginger plus whatever liquid was clinging to it out of the pan and over the broccoli to serve without thickening with potato flour.

                                              1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                Chinese Broccoli in Ginger Sauce Pg. 182

                                                I must preface my review by saying I am not a huge fan of Gai Lan. I usually find it a touch too bitter, but my partner just loves it so I do prepare it every so often. At my local Asian grocer I found lovely little Gai Lan that were labeled as Gai Lan Junior (very cute) so I thought I would give this recipe a try.

                                                I did use the potato flour slurry and I think it added something to the dish. Essentially there is very little liquid, but the slurry is just enough to make that small amount of liquid cling to the vegetables. Overall the dish was nice, and my partner really liked it, but I still found the Gai Lan a bit bitter for my taste.

                                                1. re: delys77

                                                  You're such a wonderful partner! I hope you are paid back by being allowed to have some of your favorites that are not universally loved sometimes.

                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                    Lol, thanks LLM. Honestly, lots of the pleasure I get from food is the enjoyment others take from what I make. That said, there are lots of things the partner doesn't love that are in regular rotation at our place because I love them. One that comes to mind is a French Canadian candy made with potatoes that he positively hates but that I grew up with.

                                                    1. re: delys77

                                                      Oh honey, I have forced tofu, brussels sprouts, cod and chick peas on LulusDad. At this point he actually admits to loving my b. sprouts and tofu, and he'll do ok with most of the cod (tomorrow night we'll be testing that theory) but chick peas he's still very ixnay on. I think the fact that we feed with love makes it more palatable -and more ok that we force ; )

                                                      LulusDad grew up in Quebec and has no idea what this candy is and is totally fascinated. Can you tell me what it is called?

                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                        You are definitely correct there, a little love makes all recipes better!
                                                        In terms of the guilty pleasure, you can tell Lulusdad that the name is the same in French as in English (potato candy or bonbon patate).
                                                        He may not have come accross it as it isn't something most people would admit to making or eating but it is pretty darned good. It's simply a boiled potato put through a ricer or a food mill so it is extremely smooth and then whipped with copious amounts of icing sugar to make a sweet paste that is nothing like sweet mashed potatoes. You then dust your worksurface with more powdered sugar and and roll out the potato dough. Finally top with peanut butter and roll up into a log. Slice you logs into candies and pop into the fridge for a few hours to firm up. Sinfully sweet, crazy tacky, but oh so good.

                                                        1. re: delys77

                                                          Your post nudged my memory, delys77; this has been discussed on CH (years ago): http://www.chow.com/food-news/2952/po...

                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                            Ha ha somehow I should have known I wasn't the first chow hound to bring this little treat up.

                                                          2. re: delys77

                                                            Man, this I have to try! He's currently googling it and says "yep, it is obviously a real thing" but he has never tasted it. Time for a trip back north.

                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                              If you decided to give it a try be prepared for sweet. French Canadians typically have a very sweet tooth when it comes to dessert (think Sugar Pie).

                                                              1. re: delys77

                                                                Eeek - like your teeth are about to fall out? The inclusion of peanut butter really surprises me.

                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                  It is a bit odd, but I had to guess I would assume it stems from thrift by necessity.

                                                                  1. re: delys77

                                                                    Savais pas que tu etais de la belle province :)

                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                      Mes parents sont québécois mais moi je suis né en Colombie-Britannique.

                                                2. Sichuanese Dry-Fried Green Beans (Vegetarian Version), Pg, 150

                                                  A tidy little side dish, this. Nothing too memorable but pleasant beside pan fried haddock fillets and steamed brown basmati. I've made it twice now so I suppose I'll keep it in rotation till another comes along.

                                                  Prep the haricot verts and set aside. I used frozen haricot verts from TJ's which were already prepped so step one was dismissed. Also, I didn't have to blanch the beans. Sliced red chilies and Szechuan peppercorns are sizzled briefly in hot oil (peanut) then sliced scallion, garlic, ginger are stir-fried for a few. Now add tianjin preserved vegetable and toss them around a few times. Toss in the beans, stir-fry coating them with the fragrant oil. Salt is added to taste but I didn't. Finally drizzle with toasted sesame oil and serve. The finished dish looked exactly like the photo opposite. Yay me...

                                                  18 Replies
                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                    Sichuanese Dry-Fried Green Beans

                                                    This was another surprising side that I didn't expect to be thrilled with but ended up loving. I didn't blanch the (regular green) beans but instead sprinkled in a handful of water to steam a moment, then cranked the heat to sear. I really dislike the tedium of topping & tailing the beans, so next time I'll definitely go for snake beans, which are perfect for this application anyway.
                                                    I think I'm in love with ya cai. Every item it goes into is magically transformed into an intensely savoury and addictive dish with a flavour that I can't seem to put into words. It's salty, a bit briny with a fantastic crunch and I can hardly keep myself from tossing it into everything.
                                                    I had this with a side of spicy sesame noodles, which worked as a perfect partner in crime for hoovering up all the rogue pieces of ya cai, garlic and ginger that escaped the grip of my chopsticks.
                                                    This was yet another stellar vegetarian dish to add to the rotation.

                                                     
                                                    1. re: Allegra_K

                                                      I'm so happy you liked the green beans, Allegra. I always worry about how others will fare when making something we liked. So, you think the long beans would be better? I hope I can find them at the Asian market we shop at.

                                                      Love your dish and table runner!

                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                        Thanks! I am constantly fretting whether someone will like a dish as well as I do, so I know about that feeling of relief when they concur.

                                                        I like texture of the long beans a bit better for lengthier cooking such as dry-frying, as they seem to hold their form instead of getting too mushy. Plus (and it's a huge plus!) you don't need as many beans to equal the weight and its oh so much easier to line them up and cut them into lengths when you're working with 18" at a time.
                                                        I grew some last summer and was amazed at how long some of them got, nearly two feet!

                                                        1. re: Allegra_K

                                                          I also really dislike having to snap the tails off of string beans. some brilliant HC hound recommended that I line the string beans up and cut off all the tails. It's a huge time saver and especially useful in the summer when I get a lot of string beans from the farm.

                                                          1. re: beetlebug

                                                            I do just the opposite. If the beans are really fresh,"especially from the farm", instead of the tails it's the stem end I lop off in a row of several beans at once.

                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                              Actually, I meant both ends. It's one of those endless, mind numbing childhood chores that I can't not do (like deveining both sides of the shrimp. I don't like doing it, but I don't like eating it if it's not done). The only thing I've been able to stop is to de-tail the stupid bean sprouts. That's too mind numbing but it does bug me when I eat them. I think I may need some help. ;-)

                                                              1. re: beetlebug

                                                                Ha -- reminds me -- I was astounded with the idea of trimming bean sprouts!

                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/748493

                                                                One person said:
                                                                "..that's where most of the nutrients are - the root and the seed head."
                                                                I wonder if that's true.

                                                                1. re: blue room

                                                                  Goodness, I've never even heard of anyone de-tailing bean sprouts. Is there a reason for this?

                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                    That was my reaction too, I figure it must be just for looks and refinement!

                                                                    1. re: blue room

                                                                      Looks and refinement are not worth the time! Yikes.

                                                                    2. re: LulusMom

                                                                      The texture feels kind of gross. I think it's worth the effort.

                                                                      1. re: will47

                                                                        But I've never had any problem with the texture. Probably if I'd always had them de-tailed i would notice the difference, but not having it done before, it seems sort of silly to start.

                                                                      2. re: LulusMom

                                                                        Did this when I was a child. My mother still does it. It's semi-standard where we come from (Singapore) and you can get pre-tailed ones at the market.

                                                                    3. re: beetlebug

                                                                      I usually pull the tails off both mung and soy bean sprouts when making them for eating (not when just making stock though, obviously).

                                                          2. re: Gio

                                                            If you make these the traditional way, deepfrying them prior to stirfrying them, try tossing them with a bit of oil and roasting them until wrinkled and browned instead. Fewer boring old calories and they work just as well in the dish.

                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                              Roasting would be great! Thanks so much for the tip, BT. There's more than half a bag left, it was a 2 lb. bag, so I'll roast the beans the next time.

                                                            2. re: Gio

                                                              Sichuanese Dry-Fried Green Beans

                                                              I made these as a side last night. They were good but didn't necessarily wow me. Still, very easy and I loved the crispness of the beans, which I did blanch. I gave my partner the job of de-stemming the beans while I dealt with the rest of dinner. :) If I were serving a larger Chinese meal to more than 2 people, I think these would deserve a spot on the table. We just had them cold for lunch and they are excellent that way too.