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
- TO SERVE:
- 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
- 4 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
- Make sure all ingredients are washed, chopped and ready to go. The key to good stir-frying is having everything prepped and to hand.
- 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.
- 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.
- Take the rice off the heat and cover with a lid wrapped in a clean tea towel for a further 8 mins.
- In a small bowl, mix the black bean sauce with the honey and soy sauce (or maple syrup and tamari).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Serve with big piles of steamed rice, some thinly sliced spring onions and toasted sesame seeds sprinkled on top.