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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

French Bean Braised Noodles (扁豆焖面)

A friend of mine got a small piece of land from her husband's company as part of the company's social responsibility programme, it is only meant for activities that could enhance the environment. They then decided to plant vegetables, I guest she got this bug called gardening from me.... LOL.

Last two months were interesting for most gardeners in NJ, my friend and I shared information and progress, and now.. in July... we share our crops!

She and her husband are both from the northern part of China, thus this version of French bean they planted is also northern Chinese, namely flat French bean (扁豆).

It is known to be the best bean to make this typical North western Chinese dish -- Steamed noodle.  Where the beans are first stir fried, and then boil to bring up steams, noodles lightly spread over the beans, first to steam to half cooked, and later adding more stock to cook till its well done.

This cooking method allows the noodle stays in form, and retain it's chewy texture, it is a great experience overall, eating, and cooking both!

300-400 gm French Bean (Use the shop bought version if you can't find this Chinese Version)
3 Bunch of dried noodle (approximately 300 gms) Note: You can use fresh, uncooked noodle too.
4 Thick cut Bacon (Or thin sliced pork belly marinated with a little cooking wine and salt)
2 tbsp Minced Garlic
1 tbsp Minced Ginger
2-3 tbsp Chopped spring onion
2 green chillies(Optional)
2 tbsp Soy sauce
1 Star Anise
Salt to taste (Around 1/4 tsp)
A pinch of Pepper powder

Cucumber and French bean from my friend

Clean and remove the rough string at the side of beans, break it into about 2 inches long, shorter if you prefer soft beans.

Mince ginger and garlic,slice chilli length wise or cut it into slices, chop spring onion. Slice bacon into about 1 inch thick.

Heat up a wok or a deep bottom cook ware, DO NOT add oil, cook bacon until fat/grease release, and push aside cooked bacon, remove some oil if you want it leaner.

Now add star anise, minced ginger, and half of minced garlic, half of chopped spring onion, stir fry until fragrance.

Add French bean, and stir until the colour changed, about 2 minutes. Add 2 1/2 cups of water, the beans should all submerged into water, bring to boil, add soy sauce, salt to taste. Scoop out a big bowl of stock, approximately 1 cup worth, and leave aside.

Note: If fresh noodle is used, add only 2 cups of water for cooking.

Add the remaining chopped spring onion and minced garlic into stock, stir well.

Turn heat to medium now, and loosely spread noodle over the beans, cover with lid, and cook for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, use a fork or chopstick to lightly loosen up the noodle, spread half of the stock over the top of noodle, as evenly as possible. Cover with lid and cook for another 5 minutes again. Repeat the same process for the remaining stock, and cook for another 5 minutes or until all liquid almost dried out.

At the end, add some pepper powder, and turn beans and noodle with help of chopstick and spatula, till well mix, turn off the heat and cover with lid, let the noodle sit for another 5 minutes before serving.

You could blend together 4-5 cloves of garlic, add some Chinese dark vinegar and soy sauce as a dipping sauce to this noodle.

中文版,For Chinese,Click -- 扁豆焖面

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