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Mar 24, 2013 07:12 PM

Szechuan Green Beans...HELP!

Am I the last person on the planet never to have made Szechuan Green Beans? Inspired by foodieX2's enthusiasm on the "Relying on old cookbooks" thread, I googled, I found 2 very different ingredient recipes. The first called for:

1 lb french green beans, ends trimmed
5 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp red wine
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tsp fresh ginger, minced
5 tbsp scallions, minced
2 tsp red pepper flakes

The second was:
6 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 quarter-size slices fresh ginger, peeled
2 scallions
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp hot red-pepper flakes
1 Tbsp tamari soy
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 pound green beans, tipped and tailed

Is either of theses close to how you do it?

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  1. I've never made them, but the second recipe seems closer to what I've often eaten.

    1. 1. Chinese do not *French* green or long beans

      2. Recipe #2 would appear more traditional

      3. The secret to tender Chinese Green or Long Bean to cook twice or deep fry them in oil to burst the skins.

      btw....olive oil is never used for Chinese cooking.

      5 Replies
      1. re: fourunder

        Thanks violatp. As I continue to search it does seem that some version of the 2nd, simpler dish is prevalent.
        fourunder, thank you for the information. Is it possible that the term French beans here is referring to haricot verts? Maybe the popularity of the dish has resulted in very unauthentic versions. I am sure interested in trying this. Would the common green bean available in the US be used?

        1. re: fourunder

          I think it just means long, thin green beans.

          1. re: GH1618

            If you are referring to Haricot Vert, then I stand corrected on Recipe #1, but then again, they are not generally used in Chinese Cooking.

          2. re: fourunder

            I think French refers to small green beans, not frenched ones.

   before posting, read before posting...

            1. re: sandylc

              In Asian (Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, etc.) recipes, French beans generally refer to what we call green beans, as opposed to long beans, which are the super long, darker, tougher beans.

          3. The original comment has been removed
            1. My apologies, and I don't mean to be obtuse about this, but what do mean when you say "Szechuan Green Beans"?

              There are many many different preps for green beans in Sichuan (or Szechuan) cuisine. Do you have a particular type of dish in mind? Stir-fry, braise, etc. Alone, or cooked with other ingredients, etc.

              It's a bit like asking, does this recipe look right for "American hot dogs" when in fact you could be asking for Chicago-style dogs, Sonoran dogs, a NYC dirty-water dog, a KC style dog, a Cheesey Coney, etc.

              5 Replies
              1. re: ipsedixit

                ipsy LOL - you couldn't be as dense on this subject as I am. I probably don't know what to ask for. I realize it sounds generic, but I got the impression that this has been a popular dish for the last 20 or 30 years and I alone have not heard of it. I was hoping that someone would answer with, "yeah lady, the rest of us been eatin' these beans for ages, where you been? Here's how you cook them." I know that doesn't answer your question.

                1. re: ItalianNana

                  Well, I am going to assume you want to stir-fry green beans.

                  So lets start with your basic green bean stir fry. You'll need to get some long beans, trim the ends, and then cut them in 1/3 (so that you end up with beans about an inch in length)

                  Then you'll want to stir fry the green beans. Heat up some oil (either veggie, corn or sesame, pref. sesame but not essential) in a fry pan, saute pan or wok. When a drop of water dances, the oil is hot enough to add the beans. Stir fry for about 5-7 minutes.

                  Remove the beans from the pan or wok and set aside. Reserve about 1 to 1.5 tablespoons of oil in the wok and discard the rest.

                  Now, pay attention, here is where you make "Sichuan" green beans, as opposed to any other kind of Chinese green beans.

                  To the pan or wok with the oil, add a combo of the following:diced garlic, ginger, dried chilies, and Sichuan peppercorns. Turn up the heat on the stove and stir fry these ingredients for about 30 seconds, until you can smell the Sichuan peppercorns calling your name.

                  Now add back in your green beans, and then some soy sauce, black bean sauce (or hoisin sauce), rice wine vinegar and a bit of sesame oil. Stir and toss for about a minute.

                  Plate and serve.

                  1. re: ipsedixit


                    Thanks for the detailed info. I really want to hear those peppercorns call my name!

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      regular green beans have been used and they're on sale now, whereas the chinese long green beans are pricey around here (don't know about your area).

                      ipse, why are you cutting the beans so short? all the ones i've seen are the same length as a regular green bean (hmmm…coincidence? LOL).

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        I've seen a number of recipes for these with a bit of ground pork in this legit?

                    1. re: Westminstress

                      Westminstress, I missed last month's COTM. Thank you. The picture of the dish looks delicious and best of all sounds simple.

                      1. re: Westminstress

                        The recipe does have the requisite preserved vegetable (or use Chinese olives for another spin), but the technique is all wrong.

                        1. re: Westminstress

                          I assume you mean that the technique is wrong because the beans are first blanched instead of fried? Here's another version of the Dunlop recipe, which calls for stirfrying or deep frying the green beans in the first cooking (though she does mention in the headnotes that you can steam or boil the beans if you want to reduce the oiliness of the final dish).

                          In another thread, buttertart mentioned that she roasts instead of fries the green beans for the first cooking, which results in brown wrinkly beans, similar in texture to fried beans, but with less oil.