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Bean supreme – Chinese dry-fried green beans

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Forget stodgy vege, these green beans knock any childhood nightmare out of the park, replacing it with something far more tasty.

Remember those overcooked, limp greens you were forced to eat against your will as a child? Well, these are nothing like them. We’re talking beans with chili-infused attitude, blistered and charred to perfection.

Yes, for those looking for their greens to pack a little more punch, may we introduce ‘gan bian dou jiao’, aka dry-fried green beans. Sure, they’ve been around the wok a few times, but that’s why we like ‘em.

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Dry-fried green beans is one of the dishes that almost every Chinese person would know of.

So, what exactly are you in for? Impeccably singed, crunchy, dry-fried beans, liberally flavoured with ginger, garlic and soy and often pimped up with ground pork. Gan bian dou jiao is a particularly popular dish in China as it’s easy to grow and quick to cook at home.

Don’t forget to look out for those essential light burn marks – using a griddle pan instead of a wok will add extra char.

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You can add anything you like. There is no limit to your culinary imagination.

Now it’s time to add soy sauce, dried chilli peppers, the citrus-tinged spiciness of Sichuan peppercorns and any other Asian flavours or ground meat that take your fancy. Thanks to the bean’s crispy, scalded surface, a more intense, smoky taste results.  For true Sichuan style don’t be shy with the chillies.

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The thin, long beans are symbols of good fortune in some parts of China.

And while a nice caramelised, crispy finish has developed on the outside, the lesser-cooked inside is still crunchy and tender (a big softie after all) which you’ll discover as you soon as you take your first bean bite.

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