If the previous tofu salad (liang cai) dish was a ‘super’ quick fix, this one can only be ‘medium’ quick fix. :)) Say around 15 minutes?
The original version — I mean the very original version,:) is a typical Northeast dish, and the method of making is called ‘Dun’ in Chinese, which is considered as one of the most popular cooking methods in Northern China.
To explain it in a simple way — the method essentially consists of cooking the food in a soup base. But the soup is not really suitable for drinking like we normally do, it can be mixed into rice which is great, but using spoon to drink it… a bit strange (although sometimes I do it). So, obviously it is different to making soups, probably more like ‘stew’.
The original dish involves ‘potato, green beans, and beef’ (sometimes with carrots as option) together in a deep wok. It is a typical winter dish in Northeast. But the green beans are different to the ones we could get here in England. There are different kinds of green beans in the markets in Northeast China, the ones used for this dish are normally much bigger and longer, the actual beans are fuller, and the skin is slightly thicker and less juicy. Since the normal way of quick stir-frying is not enough to get the beans very well cooked, we normally cooke them in this kind of ‘stew’ dish.
If you are in China, and can buy this kind of green beans (dou jiao), you do need to clean them well, I mean, because they are big and dry, there are normally some ‘thread’ from the two sides. The best way is to tear off both ends and break it into two or three parts, then you actually get rid of most of the ‘thread’.
It is a very ‘homemade’ dish, you have to go to ‘family run’ small restaurants to order it. The dish itself is difficult to be presented beautifully, but for a home dining table, it cannot be more cosier and ‘homey’.:)
However, it is really not easy to ‘recreate’ the original dish, so I adapted part of the ‘combination’ of the ingredients, (left out the meat), and changed to stir fried, made it into a vegetarian dish for all seasons. It is just good, lighter and fresh, but if you ever come to Northeast, you have to try the real one. :)
The recipe: Chinese stir fried potato, green beans and carrot
Ok, talking about my dish, nothing to boast this time, it is a very common and easy way of stir-frying. Here you go.
Green beans, potato, carrots
Garlic, oil, ground sichuan peppercorn, five spice powder, salt, light soy sauce, vegetable/mushroom/chicken essence/ MSG (optional)
1) Peel and chop potato, carrots into small cubes, and slice around 3-4 gloves of garlic.
2) Get rid of the ends of the green beans, and break it into half if it is too long.
1) In a heated wok, pour in around 4 tablespoons of oil, the fire is strong.
2) When the oil is hot enough, add sliced garlic and 1/2 ground sichuan peppercorn.
3) When you can smell the garlic and sichuan peppercorn, put chopped potato in. And stir fry.
4) When the potato gets ‘golden’, add in prepared green beans, then carrots. Stir well.
5) Add in 1/2 teaspoon of five (or thirteen) spice powder, 2/3 teaspoon of salt, 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce. Mixed the seasoning well with the vegetables.
6) Gradually add some water if it is needed, and lower down the fire to medium — you can cover the lid.
Continue cooking for further 5 minutes probably, until the potato is completely soft, green beans can still be crunchy, which is not bad for chewing :)). Add a little pinch of vegetable/mushroom/chicken essence/ MSG, if you like, otherwise —
—– Remove it to a plate, and serve!! :)
I like it with rice (boiled white rice, brown rice are both good) or beer. :))
If you are like me, prefer the green beans crunchy with soft potato, it is great, no need to cover the lid. If you like it soft, just keep it in the wok longer and cover the lid, but make sure that it is not burnt. If the wok is covered with the lid, the green bean might lose its ‘fresh’ greenish, but this does not affect the taste. :)