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Sichuan Dry-Fried Green Beans: A Spicy and Savory Delight

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Sichuan dry-fried green beans, or 干煸四季豆 (Gān biān sì jì dòu) in Mandarin, is a beloved dish from the Sichuan province of China. Known for its bold flavors and spicy profile, this dish has gained popularity not only in China but also internationally for its unique cooking method and addictive taste. Sichuan cuisine, famed for its use of Sichuan peppercorns and spicy chili peppers, brings a symphony of flavors to these humble green beans, making it a favorite among those who enjoy bold and fiery dishes.

Origins and History

Sichuan cuisine is renowned for its rich history and robust flavors, often characterized by the use of garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and the famous Sichuan peppercorns. Dry-frying (干煸 gān biān) is a cooking technique in Sichuan cuisine where ingredients are stir-fried without excessive oil until they are slightly charred and crispy on the outside while remaining tender inside. This method not only preserves the natural flavors of the ingredients but also enhances them through caramelization and Maillard reaction, giving the dish a depth of flavor that is distinctively Sichuanese.

Ingredients

To recreate this flavorful dish at home, you will need:

  • Green Beans: 1 lb, ends trimmed
  • Garlic: 3 cloves, minced
  • Ginger: 1-inch piece, minced
  • Sichuan Peppercorns: 1 tbsp, whole
  • Dried Red Chilies: 4-6 pieces, whole (adjust according to your spice preference)
  • Soy Sauce: 2 tbsp
  • Shaoxing Wine (or Dry Sherry): 1 tbsp
  • Sugar: 1 tsp
  • Salt: 1/2 tsp (adjust to taste)
  • Sesame Oil: 1 tbsp
  • Cooking Oil: 3 tbsp (for frying)
  • Scallions: 2, chopped (for garnish)

Cooking Instructions

  1. Prepare the Green Beans:
    • Rinse the green beans thoroughly and pat them dry with a kitchen towel. Trim the ends and cut them into 2-inch pieces.
  2. Dry-Fry the Green Beans:
    • Heat 3 tablespoons of cooking oil in a wok or a large skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the green beans and stir-fry continuously for about 8-10 minutes or until they are slightly wrinkled and blistered. Remove the green beans from the wok and set them aside on a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.
  3. Prepare the Aromatics:
    • In the same wok or skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil over medium heat. Add the minced garlic, ginger, Sichuan peppercorns, and dried red chilies. Stir-fry for about 1-2 minutes until fragrant, being careful not to burn the garlic.
  4. Combine and Season:
    • Return the fried green beans to the wok. Add soy sauce, Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry), sugar, and salt. Stir-fry everything together for another 2-3 minutes until the green beans are well-coated with the seasoning.
  5. Serve:
    • Transfer the Sichuan dry-fried green beans to a serving dish. Garnish with chopped scallions for added freshness and color.

Tips for Perfect Sichuan Dry-Fried Green Beans

  • High Heat: Ensure your wok or skillet is very hot before adding the green beans to achieve the characteristic blistered texture.
  • Fresh Ingredients: Use fresh green beans and aromatics for the best flavor.
  • Adjust Spice Level: If you prefer a milder dish, reduce the amount of dried red chilies or remove the seeds.

Serving Suggestions

Sichuan dry-fried green beans are typically served as a side dish alongside steamed rice in a Chinese meal. They pair well with other Sichuanese dishes such as Kung Pao Chicken or Mapo Tofu, balancing the meal with their crunchy texture and spicy kick.

Conclusion

With its vibrant flavors and crispy texture, Sichuan dry-fried green beans are a delightful addition to any meal, offering a taste of authentic Sichuan cuisine right in your own kitchen. Whether you’re a fan of spicy food or simply looking to explore new culinary adventures, this dish promises to satisfy your palate with every bite. Enjoy the bold flavors and aromatic spices of Sichuan with this delicious and easy-to-make recipe!

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Written by Robert Zelesky

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