Sichuan Dry-Fried String Beans

I picked up a copy of Fuchsia Dunlop’s Land of Plenty from the library last week. I skimmed through it before I checked it out because I wanted to see if the recipes were easy to do at home. I’m obsessed with this dry-fried string beans dish I always order when I’m eating at Grand Sichuan, so I made sure there was a similar string beans entry caled rou mo jiang dou. My mouth watered while reading the recipe and I knew I just had to do it pronto.

Before heading out to Chicago earlier this week, I pickled the string beans. Emptying them out when I was ready to make a Friday lunch, I couldn’t believe how fragrant it had gotten. The star anise and the ginger together gave the beans a most familiar smell: I knew I was on the right track.

Thank you to Fuschia Dunlop’s time in Chengdu! The recipes gave me an understanding of how much history came with each, but she’s deciphered them to make it easy to replicate at home.

1 bunch of long green beans
1/4 lb ground pork
1/2 tsp rice wine
1/2 tsp light soy sauce
3 dried Thai chiles, snipped in half and some of the seeds discarded
1/2 tsp whole Sichuan peppercorns
peanut oil for cooking

For the pickling solution:
4 dried Thai chiles
1/2 tsp whole Sichuan peppercorns
2 tsps rice wine
1 star anise
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 large finger of ginger, peeled, chopped in smaller pieces
1 cinnamon stick

1. Pickle the string beans up to 3 days in advance. Wash the beans thoroughly and store in a pickling jar large enough to hold all the long beans. Meanwhile, boil about 3 cups of water with some salt until it dissolves. Add the rest of the ingredients and let simmer for 5 minutes, or until water has reduced to more or less 2 cups. Set aside and let cool. When pickling solution is cool enough, separate the solid ingredients and stuff them in the jar with the beans. Pour in pickling liquid to fill the jar; there should be enough water to submerge all of the beans. Close tightly and store in the fridge until ready to cook.
2. At time of cooking, mix ground pork with rice wine, soy sauce and salt in a large glass bowl. Set aside.
3. Remove beans from pickling solution and chop into small pieces to complement the small grains of the ground pork. You can pick the brown tips and throw those away.
4. Using a wok or a large frying pan, heat some peanut oil until almost smoking. Add the pork and stir-fry until dry and crispy. Transfer back to the same bowl.
5. Add a fresh coat of peanut oil to the pan and heat. Add chiles and peppercorns and stir-fry until fragrant. Be careful not to let them burn. Add the beans and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the pork and stir-fry for another minute. Serve with a steaming bowl of white rice.

Related post/s:
Buy Land of Plenty from
Sichuan Dry-Fried String Beans photos on Flickr
Eat spicy Sichuan dishes at Wu Liang Ye

5 thoughts on “Sichuan Dry-Fried String Beans”

  • 1
    Luther on March 13, 2009

    Chengdu is a city in Sichuan province

  • 2
    Mariam on March 14, 2009

    I’m reading Fuchsia Dunlop’s Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Peppercorns right now – it’s so good I don’t want the book to end. I’ve had Sichuanese food on the mind so I might try this out next week; it looks delicious!

  • 3
    cia on March 14, 2009

    I love Sichuan food and how it makes me sweat and numbs my tongue; it’s so spicy, but I can’t stop eating it. I wish we had more Sichuan restaurants in NYC.

  • 4
    Julie Kanter on November 20, 2011

    I just made the pickle tonight with some purple long beans. It’s a beautiful jar. So, can anyone give me ideas of what to do with the pickling brine after I make the stir fry later this week?

  • 5
    cia on November 21, 2011

    I would just re-use to make another batch! :) What about using the brine instead of sherry vinegar for this chicken-shallot dish?

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