Friday, April 24, 2009

sunset park food binge: chinese long beans

We're finally getting pockets of gorgeous weather here and there in NYC, and it is especially nice that these pockets tend to happen on the weekend. Last Saturday we had an amazing spring day and it was the perfect day to spend eating our way through Sunset Park, Brooklyn. We were taken on this food tour by the lovely Lofts twins, Greg and Steve, Sunset Park residents and champions. And - perfect for us - big time foodies. The food tour included Banh Mi, oyster cakes, curry fish balls, fried taro, chicken wings, spicy squid, hand-pulled noodles, donuts, cream buns, bubble tea, and plenty of grocery shopping in the numerous Asian markets along the way.

Sunset Park contains one of three Chinatowns in NYC. It's the smallest, but it's not small, and it has the advantage of being somewhat less insanely crowded than either the Manhattan or Flushing Chinatowns. Whenever I'm in any of the three Chinatowns, I go buckwild buying groceries. There are a lot of treats that I grew up on that I can only find in Chinatown - pork buns, sticky rice, Chinese broccoli, fresh water chestnuts, lotus root, steamed flower buns, Shanghai Noodles, the list goes on and on. I lugged a whole lotta groceries home on the subway that day. One of those items were these Chinese long beans.

Chinese long beans are pretty similar to string beans and can generally be used interchangeably. Their texture is a little less snappy than green beans, but I love how thin they are, and I think they have a distinctly different flavor. As with string beans, I prepare long beans in a super simple way because I mostly just want to enjoy their fresh flavor. Recipe after the jump:


1 lb Chinese long beans, stem ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tbsp canola oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine (or dry sherry)
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp water
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
2 scallions, chopped

Mix together the soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, water, and sugar and set aside. Heat a large saute pan over high heat. Add the canola oil to the hot pan and heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for 30 seconds until fragrant, being careful not to burn it. Add the long beans and saute for a couple of minutes until beginning to soften. Add the liquid and toss to coat, when the liquids begin to boil, lower heat to a strong simmer and allow the liquids to reduce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Allow beans to simmer until tender-crisp, it should not take more than a few minutes. Add in the chopped scallions just before taking it off the heat, reserving a few tablespoons for garnish. Serve with steamed white rice.


Claudia said...

They look like spring and delicious. I can only get something like that at the Farmer's Market later this summer - so I understand about loading up while you can! I am from NYC and start missing it when I read these blogs about all the varied neighborhoods.

B said...

Nice. Do you ever make them with black bean sauce?

sharilyn said...

oh my goodness!! i can't wait to try this recipe!! i used to order this dish (or something that looked like it) in my fav chinese restaurant... and always wanted to know how to make them! mmmmmm.