|Chinese dried green beans|
Before I drew the curtain this evening, saw that almost round, but bright, yellow moon hanging in the dark sky — mid autumn day is coming. (It is a festival in China on 15th Aug of the Chinese calendar). We always say this is the time of the year that we are all supposed to be with our families and loved ones, and for those, who are far away from home, they are having the worst homesick time.
It seems that I have forgotten so many recipes over these years, I even forgot many of ‘used to be’ my favorite dishes, like this one. :) The other day, I was flipping my long deserted northeast Chinese recipe book, suddenly saw this recipe — a dish I used to cook all the time, the food I used to like eat almost everyday.
Memory is a funny thing, an ordinary smell, a common taste can all trigger flood of memory. But when things happened in the past, probably we never paid attention, never thought one day it could be in the corner of the memory somewhere. Like now, we experiencing everyday life, it will become memories for us to recall in the future.
Green beans in China
The original version of the this dish is not really made with green beans or dwarf beans, but rather with what we call long beans or Jiangdouin Chinese.
These beans are normally around 40cm long, and slim, their skin is slightly thicker than normal green beans, and the actual beans are much smaller. Since I could not find these ‘long beans’ here, I improvised the original dish with normal green beans.
The method of cooking is called ‘dry cooking’, well, I translated from its original ‘gan shao dou jia’. ‘Gan Shao’ is another way of stir frying Chinese food. Saying ‘stir frying’ is probably not exact, because this is different to the normal concept of ‘quick stir fry’, it is to stir fry with some sauce, and the food is done precisely when the sauce completely dries up.
So, it is not really a stir-fry, no? Well, usually in the West many different Chinese cooking methods are classified as stir-frying, but in Chinese they certainly aren’t. I am thinking of talking about each of them, but I could really get lost in translation. :)
‘Gan shao’ (dry cook) is different from my previous stir fry spicy green beans. This one is the typical ‘two steps’ cooking – frying, and cooking with seasonings. ‘Shao’ dishes normally require using some kind of stock, which can be made from vegetables, for example, but water can be used to instead of the stock.
The recipe: dry cooked green beans with schrimps
Ok, here’s the recipe
Green beans, dried shrimps,
Cooking wine, salt, oil, vegetable stock (optional, I just used water)
1) If you are using long beans, cut it into around 3-4cm long, or just normal green beans as a whole. In a wok, pour in enough oil for frying green beans. Until the surface of the green beans get a bit bubbles, remove them to a plate.
2) Keep a little bit oil in the wok, pour the rest out, then add a handful dried shrimps in the wok, quickly stir.
3) Put fried green beans back to the wok, add in 1 tablespoon of cooking wine, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, around one cup of stock or water.
4) Until the sauce in the wok is completely dried up, remove it to the plate.
|Cooked green beans|