What do you do with a bumper crop of long beans?
We are having a bumper crop of long beans or yard beans. They are also known as Chinese long beans, snake beans or asparagus beans. They are usually used in Chinese, Indian, and Caribbean cuisines. They grow easily but should be picked while young when they are crisp, sweet, and tender. Young beans develop within 60 days of cultivation, and the long pods grow in pairs from the stem. Known for their extraordinary length, the beans can grow up to thirty inches but should be harvested between 12 and 18 inches. The flavor of long beans is grassy and slightly sweet with a more intense bean flavor than traditional green beans.
Long beans are rich in Vitamin A, C, fiber, protein, magnesium, thiamine, potassium and iron. They can be preserved or pickled and are great with soy sauce, garlic, and ginger.
I have been doing the recipe below for years using long beans, sausage or chicken, olives, ginger, soy sauce, and balsamic vinegar. We had it for three nights this week it is so good. Another recipe I tried was long beans with peanuts, shallots, and soy sauce. Also good. My husband is fond of savory peanut dishes. You can always substitute green beans for the long beans but the flavor is not quite the same. You can find these beans in Oriental food stores and sometimes at the local farmer’s markets. Or grow them (with support) as they are easy. If you are saving seed, long beans are related to field peas, not green or pole beans.
From ‘Saveur’ Magazine
This recipe was published in 2008 and again in 2016 but it is so good you must try it.
Wok-Charred Long Beans with Black Olives
Trim and cut 1 ½ lbs. long beans into 2 inch pieces. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add beans, cook until crisp-tender, 1-2 minutes. Using tongs, transfer beans to a bowl of ice water, chill. Drain beans. Heat 3 tbsp. canola oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 4 oz. ground pork or chicken; break into small pieces. Cook pork or chicken until browned, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pork or chicken to a plate, leaving fat in skillet. Raise heat to high; add beans and cook, without stirring, until hot, about 2 minutes. Toss beans; cook, without stirring until caramelized, 1 minute more. Add 2 tbsp. minced garlic, 2 tbsp. minced ginger, and 1 minced Thai chili (or other hot chili), cook for 1 minute. Add 1/3 cup chicken broth, 2 tbsp. Chinese black or balsamic vinegar, and 1 tbsp. soy sauce; cook until almost evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add ½ lb. halved and pitted dry-cured black olives and reserved pork or chicken, cook for 1 minute more. Serve over rice for a complete meal.
From ‘Gourmet’ 2006
This recipe is equally delicious and a good way to use peanuts.
Spicy Stir-Fried Chinese Long Beans with Peanuts
Makes 4 servings
1 ½ lb. long beans
½ cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2-3 small Thai chilies (can use other chilies)
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ tablespoons peanut oil
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 large shallot, halved lengthwise, then very thinly sliced crosswise (1/2 cup)
2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Cook untrimmed beans in a 6-8 quart pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, stirring occasionally until just tender, 3-5 minutes. Transfer with tongs to a large bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking, then drain in a colander and pat dry with paper towels. Trim beans and cut crosswise into ¾ inch pieces.
Meanwhile, pulse peanuts in a food processor until half of peanuts are finely ground and remainder are in very large pieces (do not grind to a paste).
Stir together soy sauce, chilies, and salt in a small bowl.
Heat wok over high heat until a bead of water dropped onto cooking surface evaporates immediately. Add oil, swirling to coat wok, then add garlic and stir-fry until garlic begins to turn pale golden, about 5 seconds. Add peanuts, and stir-fry until all of mixture is golden, about 30 seconds. Add beans, and stir-fry until hot and welll coated, about 2 minutes. Remove wok from heat, then stir in soy sauce mixture and shallot, stirring until shallot has wilted. Drizzle in lime juice and season with salt, then transfer to a bowl. Serve warm or at room temperature. Beans can be boiled, drained, and patted dry 3 hours ahead.