I’ve been cooking up some rather complicated recipes recently. But this one is rather simple. In keeping with our Lunar New Year theme, we’re moving to a recipe for Chinese long beans. After some digging around the internet, I found that long beans are commonly served on the Lunar New Year as a symbol of longevity. Now, if you’re serving this on the Lunar New Year, you can’t cut these babies up because it symbolizes the shortening of life. You don’t want to cause your own untimely death now do you? In all other cases, go ahead and cut them.
These are Chinese long beans. Never seen them before? Then it’s learning time!
These legumes are scientifically known as Vigna unguiculata subsp. sesquipedalis. Can’t remember that name? Don’t worry. They have many other names. They’re also known as the yardlong bean, bora, bodi, long-podded cowpea, asparagus bean, pea bean, snake bean, or Chinese long bean. The plant is subtropical/tropical and grows mainly in parts of South Asia, Southeast Asia, and southern China. Not surprisingly enough, these aren’t called Chinese long beans at the asian supermarket, they were just labeled as long beans. So many names for these elongated green beans.
As with any bean, I had to wash them and chop off the tips of both ends. This task was made all the more difficult since I could’t just line up all the beans and do it in one foul swoop. They all twisted in different directions so I had the annoying task of cutting them one-by-one. The rest of my prep involved peeling and mincing some ginger and mincing a couple cloves of garlic.
Now let’s get cooking! I heated some olive oil in a skillet and let the garlic and ginger cook in there until it was aromatic. Then, I added the long beans and tossed them in the oil, letting them saute for a little bit. This will help them get a nice color. After that I poured in some water, soy sauce, and oyster sauce and tossed the beans in that.
Now to finish cooking them. I placed a lid over them and let them steam in the skillet for around 8 minutes until they were the doneness that I like. They’ll still be fairly crisp so if you like your beans softer, cook them for longer.
I like using this method of cooking or the blanching method because I can get such a nice green color out of the beans themselves. Nothing looks worse to eat than brown beans, and keeping the vibrant green color is the way to go in my opinion. Although, I like to concern myself with aesthetics along with flavor so it might just be a superfluous thing.
But there you have it, a simple way to make an exotic bean. This could also be a great recipe for green beans since they’ll cook up in a very similar way. And green beans are much easier to find anyway.
Ginger-Soy Long Beans
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 1 lb Chinese long beans
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbs ginger, minced
- 3 tbs olive oil
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tbs oyster sauce
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- Clean and trim long beans
- Heat olive oil over medium heat
- Add garlic and ginger and cook until aromatic, 1 minute
- Add long beans, toss in the oil and sauté for 2 minues
- Add water, oyster sauce, and soy sauce
- Cover pan with a lid and let steam for 8 minutes
Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Vegetarian