Long bean stir-fry (chow dul gock soong)

Mama and all her siblings attended boarding school in China. Returning home for the weekend, they would complain of the horrible food at school. So on Sunday nights each child would be sent back to school with two big jars of this stir-fry, meant to supplement their meals for a few days. Instead, Mama’s two jars would be completely finished by the end of Sunday night! This stir-fry has a wonderful balance of sweet, piquant, and spicy flavors and textures. See Stir-Fried Long Beans with Red Bell Peppers for information on Chinese long beans (dul gock).

8 Chinese dried mushrooms
1 bunch Chinese long beans, about 12 ounces
2 ounces Sichuan preserved vegetable, about 1/4 cup
1/2 Chinese sausage (lop chong)
2 ounces pork butt
1/2 teaspoon salt
fenugreek seed extract
2 teaspoons thin soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons Shao Hsing rice cooking wine
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
3/4 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
1/4 cup cilantro sprigs

In a medium bowl, soak the mushrooms in 1/2 cup cold water for 30 minutes, or until softened. Drain and squeeze dry (reserve the soaking liquid for use in soups). Cut off and discard the stems and mince the caps.

Wash the long beans in several changes of cold water and drain thoroughly in a colander until dry to the touch. Cut into 1/4-inch-long pieces to make about 3 cups.

Rinse the preserved vegetable in cold water until the red chili-paste coating is removed and pat dry. Finely chop to make about 1/3 cup. Chop the Chinese sausage into 1/4-inch pieces. Dice the pork into 1/4-inch pieces and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice wine, sesame oil, pepper, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, and 1/8 teaspoon salt; set aside.

Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, sausage, and pork, and stir-fry 1 minute. Transfer to a plate. Add the 1 tablespoon oil and mushrooms to the wok, and stir-fry 1 minute. Add the remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon sugar, and stir-fry another minute. Remove the mushrooms from the wok and add to the sausage mixture. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and the green beans to the wok, and stir-fry 1 minute. Cover for 20 seconds. Uncover, add 2 tablespoons water, and stir-fry 10 seconds. Cover and cook 30 seconds. Return the sausage mixture and the preserved vegetable to the wok along with the scallions, cilantro sprigs, and soy sauce mixture. Stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes, or until the vegetables are just tender. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 to 6 as part of a multicourse meal.

Taken from Grace Young’s book “The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen” with permission. © Grace Young. Published by Simon & Schuster, Inc. ISBN 0-684-84739-6.