Author Notes: From Fuchsia Dunlop's Every Grain of Rice. A few notes: 1) Feel free to reduce the chiles (or even omit the chiles, if any small humans vociferously object); the same goes for the numbing Sichuan pepper. But once the small humans start asking for this dish, you can slowly introduce said chiles and pepper. 2) You can make this without a wok, of course, but like almost all Chinese stir-fried dishes, it simply works better with a carbon-steel wok. (And they're relatively cheap and endlessly useful.) 3) The Sichuanese ya cai or Tianjin preserved vegetable are optional but fantastic -- they add what Dunlop calls a savory kick. Both should be available in a decent Chinese grocery, but look them up before you go, so you'll know what you're after. —Nicholas Day
Makes enough for a small side dish
- 3/4 pound green beans
- 4-6 dried chiles
- 2 scallions, whites only, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, sliced
- an equivalent amount of ginger, sliced
- 2 tablespoons Sichuanese ya cai or Tianjin preserved vegetable (optional but recommended; see note above)
- 1/2 teaspoon whole Sichuan pepper
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons canola or peanut oil
- Trim beans; snap them in half. Then snip the chiles in half and shake out and discard the seeds. If you're using the Tianjin preserved vegetable, rinse off the excess salt and squeeze it dry.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add beans and blanch until just tender, then drain.
- Put your wok over high heat. Add the canola or peanut oil, then the chiles and the Sichuan pepper. Stir-fry just until the chiles begin to darken, then add the scallion, ginger, and garlic and cook for a few moments more. Add the preserved vegetable and stir a few more times. Then add the beans and stir-fry for a minute or two longer, until coated in the oil and the seasonings. Add salt to taste. Drizzle with sesame oil and serve.
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