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Yin Yang Beans

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From “Stir-Frying To The Sky’s Edge,” by Grace Young

Firmer vegetables like asparagus, carrots, and green beans sometimes are blanched to partially cook them before stir-frying. It is very important that blanched vegetables be well drained. Any water on the vegetables will turn a stir-fry into a braise. I devised this recipe when I was in the mood for Dry-Fried Sichuan Beans but didn’t have the Sichuan preserved vegetable. This has a similar complement of salty, tangy, and spicy flavors and is more convenient to make.

Serves 4 as a vegetable side dish.


  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound green beans, ends trimmed (about 6 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons ground pork (about 1 ounce)
  • 1 tablespoon minced pickled ginger
  • ¼ cup chopped scallions


    1. In a 3-quart saucepan bring 1½ quarts water and ½ teaspoon of the salt to a boil over high heat. Add the beans and cook 1 minute or until they are bright green and the water almost returns to a boil. Drain the beans in a colander, shaking well to remove all excess water. In a small bowl combine the soy sauce and rice wine.
    2. Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or 12-inch skillet over high heat until a bead of water vaporizes within 1 to 2 seconds of contact. Swirl in the oil, add the garlic, fresh ginger, and red pepper flakes and stir-fry 10 seconds or until the aromatics are fragrant. Add the pork, and using a metal spatula, break up the pork, and stir-fry 30 seconds to 1 minute or until the pork is no longer pink. Add the beans, pickled ginger, and scallions and sprinkle on the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Swirl the soy sauce mixture into the wok and stir-fry 1 minute or until the pork is cooked through and the beans are crisp-tender.
Photo by Steven Mark Needham

Reminder: The ingredients in a recipe determine if it should be eaten every day, some days, or on special occasions. It's up to you and you doctor to determine what can be part of a healthy diet for you and any special needs you may have.

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Photo by Flicker user mollycakes / CC BY-NC 2.0

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