Monday, 10 March 2014

#ewew cooks (Esquire Kitchen Inspired) Szechuan Fried French Beans

This Szechuan Fried French Beans (or green beans) is inspired by the one we had in Esquire Kitchen and that's why it is one of our favourite orders when we dine there....and, since it is such a crowd pleaser, I decided to try and replicate the dish at home.  Of course, it's not near as good as the one the restaurant dishes out but, for a home cooked version, I feel it's good enough.

This is how it looked like from the Esquire Kitchen Restaurant.
The Szechuan Fried French Beans is a very simple stir-fry dish that takes only minutes to prepare and cook.
300g French or green beans
60g (about 3 tbsp) minced pork (optional)
1 tbsp chopped garlic
2 tbsp "char choy" (preserved Szechuan vegetable), finely chopped
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tsp soya sauce
1 tbsp water (if needed)
A drizzle of sesame oil


Leave the green bean whole (or cut into 2), and trim off both ends.  Wash and ensure you drain off all the water from the green beans.

Soak a piece of the "char choy" (top left in pic) in water for about 30 minutes (or longer depending on how salty your "char choy" is...taste, taste, taste).  Once you are satisfied with the saltiness, chop it up finely (you'll need only about 2 - 3 slices of the "char choy" for this).  [#Note: The "char choy" is the 'secret' ingredient in this dish.  This was revealed to me by one of the waitresses at Esquire Kitchen because, all this while, I thought it was "choy poh" (preserved chopped radish).]
In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil until hot and add the green beans.  

Make sure the green beans are dry and fry them (in one layer), over moderately high heat, until they begin to blister and darken up.  Keep moving them about in the pan, it should take about 5 minutes.  [#Tip: I use a non-stick pan so that the process of blistering and darkening of the green beans does not result in it sticking to the pan.] 

Transfer onto a plate (they should look crinkly with brown spots).
Bring the skillet back to medium heat.  Add another 1/2 tablespoon of oil, put in the pork, chopped "char choy", garlic and fry until aromatic and slightly brown.  [#Tip: You can omit the pork and it will still taste as good!]
Return the cooked green beans into the pan and add 1 tbsp of oyster sauce, 1 tsp soya sauce and fry for a further 2 minutes.  Add water, if needed, but know that the dish is meant to be very dry.  At the end, drizzle a little sesame oil on it.  [#Tip: There's no need to salt the dish as the saltiness will be provided by the oyster sauce and "char choy".  If the end result tastes salty, this would mean that your "char choy" is too salty and not soaked long enough.]
Plate up....and this is how my home cooked (Esquire Kitchen inspired) Szechuan Fried French Beans look like.

Serves 2 - 3 and is meant to be eaten with white rice.

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