2 tablespoons chopped ya cai or any pickled Chinese vegetable
1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
This popular dish from Sichuan province pops up frequently in restaurants such as the legendary Da Ping Huo in Central, and Sijie Sichuan in Wan Chai. Dry-fried green beans is an addictive dish if you love hot and numbing flavours. Traditionally the beans are fried in very little oil until they blister and wrinkle and take on a smoky flavour. Nowadays many cooks deep-fry the beans to speed up the process. In most homes, minced pork is used, but minced beef and chicken work beautifully, too. This is an easy dish to make and, from experience, it’s marvellous with a bowl of congee.
Heat oil for deep-frying in a wok to 170°C or until a cube of bread turns golden brown in 20 seconds.
Add the green beans and deep-fry for 2 minutes until they blister.
Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well.
Carefully pour the hot oil into a heatproof container (reserve for another use), leaving 2 tablespoons in the wok.
Add the garlic, ginger, spring onions, Sichuan peppercorns and chillies to the wok and stir-fry over medium heat until fragrant.
Add the pork and ya cai and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes over medium heat.
Splash in the rice wine and light soy sauce and stir a few times.
Return the green beans to the wok and continue to stir-fry for 1-2 minutes until nicely coated.
Serve immediately with steamed rice.
Edited extract from Hong Kong Food City by Tony Tan
Published by Murdoch Books, distributed by Allen & Unwin
Photography by Greg Elms.