This time of year, one of my favorite things to find at the farmers market is Chinese long beans. Sometimes called snake beans or yard-long beans, they look like exotic sea creatures in a tangled pile. My favorite way to prepare them is to stir-fry them with some ground pork, tomatoes and sweet peppers. Conveniently, all of these ingredients can be found at the farmers market now too.
The key to the sauce in this quick stir-fry is kecap manis — a thick, soy sauce sweetened with palm sugar. It's thick and syrupy like molasses, and adds a distinct caramel flavor that I love. Look for it next to the soy sauce in your grocery store or Asian market. It's one of my favorite Asian ingredients.
This is so easy to make it's the kind of thing I put together on a weeknight after a quick stop at the Wednesday farmers market on the way home from work. Serve it with some rice and you're ready to go. Make this as spicy as you like with dried chili flakes or Sriracha hot sauce.
Note: to make this a vegetarian dish, you could do the same thing with tofu in place of the pork.
Stir-Fry with Pork and Long Beans
2 shallots, peeled and minced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon fish sauce
3-4 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons kecap manis
3 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
pinch of chili flakes or a squirt of Sriracha hot sauce, optional
1 1/2 pounds Chinese long beans, ends trimmed, cut into one-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, in bite-size chunks
1 orange bell bell pepper, in bite-size chunks
one pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
basil leaves, for garnish
cooked rice for 4 people
In a wok, over medium high heat, sauté the shallots and garlic in the olive oil for 3-4 minutes until shallots soften and become translucent.
Add pork, fish sauce, soy sauce, kecap manis, sweet chili sauce and chili flakes or hot sauce, if using. Stir-fry over high heat until pork is browned and cooked through.
Add the long beans and continue stir-frying for about 2 minutes. (Don't overcook the beans, you want them to retain some snap.)
Add the peppers and tomatoes and continue stir-frying for about 1-2 minutes more.
Remove from heat. Serve over rice with cilantro sprinkled over top and basil leaves as garnish.
Jul 25, 2010