Flash-fried sticky tofu with green beans


While my favourite and default way to have green beans is simmered gently with fresh tomatoes and onion, or in a Niçoise salad, sometimes it’s good to reach into the recipe books. This dish by Anna Jones from ‘One Pot, Pan, Planet’ is totally worth a trip to a Chinese supermarket to get some Sichuan peppercorns and authentic black bean sauce. If buying the sauce from a regular supermarket, choose the brand which looks the darkest and most packed with black beans, and avoid the brown sludgy stuff (says Anna Jones).


  • 300g jasmine rice
  • 3 tbsp good black bean sauce
  • a little squeeze of honey or maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp light soy sauce or tamari
  • groundnut or vegetable oil
  • 400g firm smoked tofu, cut into 1cm-thick strips
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, thinly sliced
  • A small thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and thinly chopped
  • ½ teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, bashed and roughly ground with a mortar and pestle
  • 1 stick of celery, stringy bits peeled off, and cut into thin 1cm matchsticks
  • 4 spring onions, chopped into 2cm pieces
  • 2 handfuls of green beans, trimmed and chopped in half
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • ¼ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 tbsp toasted sesame seeds


  1. Make sure all ingredients are washed, chopped and ready to go. The key to good stir-frying is having everything prepped and to hand.
  2. Start with the rice. Put rice into colander and rinse it well under cold running water until the water starts to run clear. Put it into a lidded saucepan with 1 litre of boiling water. Bring to boil over high heat.
  3. Once boiling, give it a quick stir to make sure there aren’t any grains stuck to the bottom. Cook for 8 mins at a rolling boil, by which point the surface should look dry and have a few ‘breathing’ holes.
  4. Take the rice off the heat and cover with a lid wrapped in a clean tea towel for a further 8 mins.
  5. In a small bowl, mix the black bean sauce with the honey and soy sauce (or maple syrup and tamari).
  6. While the rice is cooking, heat a couple of tbsp of oil in a wok over a medium heat. Add the tofu and cook until crisp and golden.
  7. Then add the garlic, ginger and Sichuan pepper and sizzle for a couple of moments before adding the celery, chopped spring onions and green beans. Turn up the heat and cook for about 4 mins until everything is fragrant and hot throughout.
  8. Add the black bean mixture and continue to cook until everything is coated. Take off the heat and stir in the sesame oil and chilli flakes.
  9. Serve with big piles of steamed rice, some thinly sliced spring onions and toasted sesame seeds sprinkled on top.