Chinese long beans are fun to eat and
make a great presentation. They are easily found in Asian markets and sometimes
at farmer’s markets or grocery stores with large produce sections. This recipe
creates a wok-charred flavor, similar to the smoky flavor created by grilling.
You need a really hot work and sturdy wok spatulas. No wok? No problem. A cast
iron skillet will work as well.
Recipe for Long Beans
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 pound Chinese long beans, ends trimmed
½ pound shitake mushrooms
2 scallions cut into thin bias segments
3 garlic cloves, slivered
¼ cup Sichuan soy sauce (recipe follows)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Heat the wok over high heat until it is
very hot. Add the sesame oil and tilt the wok to spread the oil. Add the beans
and begin tossing them in the wok. Continue stirring and constantly tossing (yes,
like a maniac) for 3-5 minutes, until the beans become wrinkled and charred.
Add the mushrooms, scallions, and garlic
and continue tossing until the garlic is slightly softened and fragrant, about
Add the Sichuan soy sauce and sesame
seeds and toss to coat. Serve immediately, garnished with additional sesame
seeds and chopped scallions.
Recipe for Sichuan Soy Sauce
Soy sauce out of the bottle is not
exactly a “sauce,” and isn’t nearly as good as this homemade creation. This
simple flavor enhancing treatment will guarantee you a delicious and authentic
sauce that can be used during cooking and as a condiment at the table.
3-inch piece of ginger, chopped
1 scallion, chopped
1 piece of star anise, broken
1 teaspoon lightly crushed black
1 teaspoon lightly crushed anise seed
1 teaspoon lightly crushed fennel seed
1 teaspoon lightly crushed coriander
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup brown sugar
4 cups soy sauce (I use Oshawa Organic Nama Shovu Unpasteurized Soy
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup water
Combine all ingredients in a large
saucepan. Bring to a boil, simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat and let steep 10
minutes. Strain through chinois.
Store the soy sauce covered in the
refrigerator for up to six months.
Insider’s Guide to Chopsticks:
- Never waive your chopsticks over food or poke your
dinner with the tips of your chopsticks because it is considered poor
- Equally forbidden is using chopsticks to pull a dish
forward. Use only hands.
- If you need to rest your chopsticks, leave them on the
chopsticks rest or by the side of your bowl or plate. Do not stick them
into a bowl of rice because it resembles ancestral offerings and is
- If the table settings include serving spoons or
chopsticks, use them instead of your own set to get yourself food.
not suck on the tip of the chopsticks.
to Use Chopsticks
There are two important things to
remember for effective use of chopsticks. One is that the two lower ends must
be even, that is, one must not protrude over the other. The other condition is
that the two chopsticks must be in the same plane.
Place the first (lower) chopstick in
the base of the thumb and index finger and rest its lower end below on the ring
finger as shown. This chopstick remains fixed.
Hold the other (upper) chopstick
between the tips of the index and middle fingers, steady its upper half against
the base of the index finger, and use the tips of the thumb to keep it in
To pick up food, move the upper
chopstick with index and middle fingers. With a little practice, you will be
able to use chopsticks with ease.
Laura Frankel is the executive chef of Spertus
Kosher Catering featuring cuisine by Wolfgang Puck at the Spertus Institute in