Double Happiness Beans
wo types of beans makes for double happiness, as fine green beans are tossed in a wok with salted black beans and chilli for a very quick vegetable side dish. Salted black beans are preserved, fermented soy beans, available in bags or tins from Chinese food stores. They are quite pungent, so use them sparingly in soups, stir-fries, and sauces. Store in an airtight container, and they will keep for years. If you make this without them, add 2 tbsp oyster sauce instead.
Serves 4 as side dish
- 2 tbsp salted black beans
- 2cm knob of ginger, peeled
- 300 g fine green beans
- 1 sweet red pepper
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 garlic clove, smashed
- half small red chilli, finely sliced
- 1 tbsp rice wine or dry sherry
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp cornflour mixed with 1 tbsp water
- Soak the black beans in cold water for 10 minutes, and cut the ginger into thin matchsticks.
- Top and tail the green beans if necessary, and cut in half lengthwise, on an extreme diagonal. Cut the sweet red pepper into thin strips, discarding core and seeds.
- Cook the green beans and red pepper in a pan of simmering salted water for 3 minutes, then drain and refresh under cold water. Drain again, and pat dry with a clean towel.
- Heat the oil in a wok or fry pan, then add the garlic, ginger and chilli, tossing well. Add the green beans and red pepper, and toss well for 2 minutes over high heat. Add the drained black beans, rice wine, soy sauce and sesame oil and toss well for a further minute. Add the cornflour mixture and toss until the sauce thickens and coats the vegetables. Serve hot.