Combining snake beans with minced pork, this classic Sichuan dish is a great side for Chinese banquets. The pickled mustard greens add a tangy crunch and can be substituted with other Chinese pickles if preferred.
- 100 g minced pork
- 60 ml (¼ cup) soy sauce
- 1½ tbsp Chinese rice wine (shaoxing) (see Note)
- ½ tsp cornflour
- 600 g (about 3 bunches) snake beans
- vegetable oil, to shallow-fry
- 3 dried red chillies (see Note)
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 Chinese leek (see Note), finely chopped
- 2 tbsp dried shrimp (see Note), roughly chopped
- 30 g pickled mustard greens (ya cai) (see Note), finely chopped
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- steamed rice, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Place pork, 1 tbs soy sauce, ½ tbsp rice wine and cornflour in a bowl and stir to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
Trim beans and cut into 5 cm lengths. If damp, dry well with paper towel. Fill a large wok with 3cm vegetable oil and place over high heat. To check whether oil is hot enough, insert a wooden chopstick into oil; small bubbles should form on the chopstick. Working in three batches, carefully add the beans and cook for 2 minutes or until skins wrinkle and whiten. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
Drain all oil except for ½ tbsp. Return wok to high heat and add pork mixture. Cook, breaking up mince, for 2 minutes or until browned. Add chillies, garlic, leek and shrimp, and stir-fry for 1 minute or until fragrant. Return beans to wok with remaining 2 tbs soy sauce and 1 tbs rice wine, and mustard greens. Stir-fry for 30 seconds, then add sesame oil. Stir to combine and remove from heat.
Serve immediately with rice.
• Chinese rice wine, dried red chillies and dried shrimp are available from Asian food shops.
• Chinese leeks, available from selected greengrocers and Asian food shops, are more slender than regular leeks and resemble bulb spring onions. Substitute 1 large spring onion.
• Ya cai is a Sichuanese pickle made from the stems of a variety of mustard green. It is sun-dried, rubbed in salt and mixed with spices and sometimes sugar. It is dark brown and sold in packets or jars at selected Asian food shops. If unavailable, substitute with other pickled mustard greens or pickled radish.
As seen in Feast magazine, November 2011, Issue 3. For more recipes and articles, pick up a copy of this month's Feast magazine or check out our great subscriptions offers here.