Fried Green Beans with Yacai

Fried Green Beans with Yacai1

Dry fried green beans, or 干煸四季豆, is a common dish on the Chinese menu. You can get it at most restaurants in China. It is the one dish that I always order when I got out to dinner with my friends. The traditional cooking method is not very healthy unfortunately, as it requires a lot of oil to deep fry the green beans first, then they are dry fried in a wok, together with other ingredients.

The other ingredients are yacai and minced pork. Yacai is a Sichuan speciality made from cabbage or other Chinese greens and usually shredded, dried, then pickled with other spices and sauces. It comes in airtight bags and is usually already minced and ready to use. As for the minced pork, it is used sparingly to add a little flavor to the green beans. In some restaurants those little bits of pork are considered to be unimportant and on the menu it is listed within the vegetarian dishes and has been one of the nightmares of many vegetarians who try to order vegetarian food in China. :P

The dish that I created is based on the version with pork, however, I used soy protein crumbles instead. Of course you can avoid it completely and simply cook it with yacai on its own. In order to avoid the heavy oil and deep-drying, I steam the green beans first so they are soft and easier to cook. I admit it doesn’t taste exactly the same, but it’s close and much healthier.

Fried Green Beans with Yacai mix

Health Index: 3/5 (2 to 3 times a week)
Kitchen Gadgets: Frying Pan or Wok

Ingredients
300g green beans
25g soy protein crumbles
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic
3 dried chilli peppers
2 tbsp yacai
½ tsp sea salt

Instructions
1. Soak the soy protein crumbles for 10 minutes, squeeze out the excess water and set aside.
2. Remove the ends of the green beans. Crush the garlic and cut the dried chilli peppers into thirds.
3. Steam the green beans for 5 minutes.
4. Preheat the stainless steel pan on a high heat, then turn down to a medium heat. Add the olive oil, garlic and chilli peppers, sauté for 10 seconds, then add the squeezed soy protein. Stir fry for 3 minutes, then add the steamed green beans and cook for 7 minutes.
5. Add the yacai and salt, mix thoroughly, turn off the heat and serve!