Allow me introduce you to my new friend, Chinese long beans.
If you have ever strolled through Asian markets, you may have noticed this unusual-looking vegetable.
Chinese long beans bring to mind a shopping trip years ago where my friend and I stared in equal parts horror and wonder at a woman’s dangling, long bean-like fingernails. This is precisely why I’ve walked passed them many times in Asian groceries and given them strange looks at Twin Cities farmers markets.
This all changed the following summer when I noticed the little boy I nannied chewing on a long bean his mother gave him as a snack. Long beans were one of his favorite snacks and he seemed content using his two and only teeth to nibble the wrinkly, green strands. Suddenly, they seemed less menacing.
Now, long beans are one of my favorite vegetables. They look more unusual than they taste and I actually prefer their sweet flavor and crunchy texture to standard green beans. If you are looking to add a new vegetable to your repertoire, try this simple preparation.
Be careful when adding the sauces to a smoking hot pan. I learned the glaze can burn when I scorched my first batch.
Long Beans, cut into bit sized pieces (about two cups)
Vegetable oil (not olive)
Onion, diced or cut into half moons
Optional: Sesame seeds to garnish
- Wash the long beans, trim off the ends, and cut into manageable pieces.
- Cook scrambled eggs in a little bit of oil and set aside. Cut into strips or break into small pieces. If you plan to use the same pan to cook the beans, rinse or wipe out the pan when it’s cool enough to safely handle.
- In a hot pan, stir fry the onion in a little oil (not olive oil).
- Before the onions brown, add the green beans and stir fry until they are tender. If the outsides of the beans slightly blister, they will taste even better. Make sure the onion does not burn.
- Turn off the heat and remove the pan from the burner. If the pan is scorching hot, let it cool slightly so that the glaze does not burn.
- Toss the beans with soy sauce or miso mixed with a little it of water, plus a sprinkle of sugar or drizzle of honey for a salty-sweet glaze. Taste as you go and adjust the soy and sugar as needed.
- You could also add hot pepper, garlic, or sesame seeds.