the taste space

Szechuan Green Beans and Red Pepper

Posted in Sides by janet @ the taste space on January 31, 2013

I feel like I am still in an exploratory phase. An exploratory phase of cooking. I am not sure if it will ever end, but it seems to me like there are constantly new things I’d like to try eating. Beyond new grains like kasha and kaniwa, or new heirloom beans, I will always scour new recipes. As I learned in Colombia, there are a host of new fruits and vegetables to explore, too.

While I may not be entirely thrilled with my closest ethnic grocer, it is still an ethnic grocer with produce I have yet to try eating.  I once had a goal of trying all the new-to-me veggies at Bestwin and Sunny’s, but I can only tackle so many new ingredients at once. As I am unsure of the ethnic produce available in Texas (people keep trying to convince me that there is a dearth of vegetables there, but I protest!), I should capitalize on trying new veggies. In honour of the upcoming Chinese New Year, I popped some Chinese long beans into my cart. Only later did I figure out what I wanted to do…

I found this quick and easy Chinese veggie dish, with flavourful spices while still being able to highlight the long beans. I really liked the play between the Szechuan peppercorns and star anise with the garlicky vegetables. The peanuts added a great crunch and texture.

So, the long beans? Not my favourite. If I had to choose, the thin French green beans (haricot verts) are definitely my preferred green bean. The long beans are more chewy pod, less beany and not as flavourful as the French variety. I’d prefer the standard green beans, too, and would likely use them when making this again.

But hey, at least now I know. I will never go about thinking “I never tried the Chinese long beans.. maybe they are better than the rest?”.  Even if the long beans are more authentic in this dish, the regular green beans would do just fine, as well.

Do you like discovering new veggies?

This is my submission to this week’s Weekend Wellness and to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Cristina.

Szechuan Green Beans and Red Pepper
Adapted from Taste of the East

1 tsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp Aleppo chile flakes
3 cups Chinese long beans (or green beans), sliced into 1″ pieces
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp low-sodium tamari (or soy sauce)
1/8 tsp star anise, ground
1/8 tsp Szechuan pepper, ground (or black pepper)
1/4 cup peanuts, toasted and crushed

1. In a large wok or skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the garlic, red pepper, and chili flakes and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

2. Add the green beans and cook until just tender, approximately 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Once the green beans are bright green and crisp, add the rice vinegar, tamari, star anise, and ground pepper. Stir well to combine. Garnish with the peanuts prior to serving.

Serves 4 as a side.

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22 Responses

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  1. Gabby @ the veggie nook said, on January 31, 2013 at 7:54 AM

    I love discovering new veggies, but always find myself buying the same ones! I need to get myself to an ethnic grocer I think! :)

    • janet @ the taste space said, on January 31, 2013 at 9:08 AM

      Trust me, I have my favourites, too! We buy broccoli almost weekly for Rob, alone. :) Squash and spinach are also staples for me. Chinatown has lots of fun stuff (have you been to T&T yet?). I think you’d have fun in Sunny’s, too. Totally not in your neighbourhood, but neither is it in mine.. haven’t been there in a while which is actually ok because I need to eat everything I have before I move. ;)

  2. sprint2thetable said, on January 31, 2013 at 8:39 AM

    I alwyas stare at the long beans wondering… I like my French too though. If yo ever find youself in Atlanta you have to let me know. We have such a massive ethnic market here… you’ll think you’ve gone to heaven. I just bough egg fruit. I had no idea that even exsisted, but now it’s my favorite fruit!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on January 31, 2013 at 9:05 AM

      Egg fruit?? What is that?? I will have to look it up.

      We are planning a road trip from Toronto to Houston, so if we swing by Atlanta, I will definitely let you know! :)

      • sprint2thetable said, on January 31, 2013 at 5:27 PM

        It’s so good – I’m posting more about it tomorrow.

        Please swing through ATL!!!

      • janet @ the taste space said, on January 31, 2013 at 7:35 PM

        Woohoo for egg fruit!
        Rob tells me it will be a 3 hour detour to go through Atlanta. I think I can convince him it will be worth it. I’ll keep you updated as we finalize our plans (won’t be a for a while, though).

      • sprint2thetable said, on February 1, 2013 at 8:50 AM

        That’s awesome!! You MUST let me know. :)

  3. chefconnie said, on January 31, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    Great recipe Janet. Green beans are one of my favorite food and when you saute them in hot oil they become sweeter.

  4. Joanne said, on January 31, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    Haricot verts are my favorites also! And the dressing for this dish (or sauce, really) sounds amazing. I love all things star anise.

  5. Hannah said, on January 31, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    SOM TAM IS MY FAVOURITE OF ALL THE THINGS!!

  6. Jes said, on January 31, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    I love Chinese long beans, but it’s been ages since I’ve cooked with them. I love how bright your dish is, and I bet it’s awesome with the szechuan peppers.

  7. Ellen Lederman said, on January 31, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    Thanks for being honest about the long beans. I like the idea of them, but the actuality is a little lackluster. Love Szechuan peppercorns! For a while they weren’t available in the US. Glad they are back (although they really do affect your sense of taste for a while—after eating peanuts with Szechuan peppercorns, my iced tea tastes funny afterwards).

    Since this recipe calls for sauteing/stir frying, let me ask you a question on my behalf of my husband. He wants to know your opinion of nonstick cookware (health hazards)….

  8. emmycooks said, on February 1, 2013 at 12:54 AM

    I love trying new produce. I usually ask the seller for a recommendation about preparing it, though, to give it a fair chance. I have liked long beans before in restaurants but never prepared them myself–I won’t try them in this dish, tho I love it with green beans (and I usually add tofu as well).

    • janet @ the taste space said, on February 1, 2013 at 9:08 PM

      That is a great idea to give the veg a fair chance. I also like your suggestion to add tofu.. sometimes I forget the plain obvious. :)

  9. afracooking said, on February 1, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    I love enjoying any type of new (healthy) food. Veggies are no exception. I think my most amazing discovery has been “cauliflower”. I only really knew it baked with cheese or steamed. I keep on being blown away with what you can make with cauli – tabouleh, mash etc etc

    • janet @ the taste space said, on February 1, 2013 at 9:07 PM

      It is true, even the standard vegs can be morphed into something new with a new way to prepare it. I love roasted cauliflower! :)

  10. Colette @ JFF! said, on February 4, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    That looks like a pop of flavour!

  11. […] Szechuan Green Beans & Red Pepper from The Taste Space. Spicy and flavorful–what a great way to enjoy beans! […]

  12. […] OK, file this under “I don’t need to try that again“. […]

  13. […] Szechuan Green Beans & Red Pepper from The Taste Space. Spicy and flavorful–what a great way to enjoy beans! […]


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