A few weeks ago, my friend, Mike, had to try something new for his weekly blog assignment. He decided to try cooking with huajiao, since he has an enormous bag of it from a student. As he aptly describes it, eating huajiao (sichuan peppercorns) is like licking a 9-volt battery. To me it also feels like I’m having an allergic reaction to it. It’s meant to numb your tongue a bit so you can enjoy the spicy Sichuan food without needing a fire hydrant to the mouth. It’s one of my least favorite spices (or things, ever), but I’m a sport, so I agreed to have a joint cooking session, which we often do, and I always enjoy. Once again, this was a multi-dish meal, composed of the beans, some tofu wontons, and cucumber, so I will break it down into separate posts.
Gan bian dou jiao (dry-fried green beans) is one of the most common things to order at dishes restaurants. Let me explain. In China, eating is very often a communal activity, where everyone eats from various shared dishes. So often when we want to figure out what to eat, we have to decide between individual plates and dishes. Dishes are usually more expensive, but always worth it because you get a variety of super tasty food. Anyway, these green beans are always a go-to with my friends. I usually enjoy them so long as the huajiao is limited. More importantly, for blog purposes, it’s really easy to make at home.
I allowed Mike to do most of the prepping and cooking while I instructed him step by step (read: this was mostly me yelling at him, lovingly, to stop being an expletive and just turn the heat up and TOSS-STIR-TOSS!)
To you, my dear readers, I will be more kind with my instructions…
Cut up the beans into small pieces…
Add a little oil to the wok and turn the heat wayy up, and add the beans, stirring manically so they don’t stick to the pan…
Just before they are finished, add some sliced, dried chilies, garlic, and chili oil…
Fry, stirring and tossing, until desired done-ness.
The Recipe! (About 3 servings)
What you need:
- 1 pound of green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 8-10 dried chilies
- 3 cloves garlic
- Oil for frying
- Salt (to taste)
- Chili oil (to taste)
What to do:
- Fry the beans* on high heat in as little oil as possible without burning the pan.
- When the beans are just about finished, add other ingredients and fry, stirring and tossing constantly, until chilies are slightly crispy.
*When you make these, I would suggest steaming the beans first, and adding some salt.
Dry-Fried Green Beans (干扁四季豆)