This dish was inspired by a reader’s comment. She reminded me that Sichuan Dry Fried String Beans, (干煸四季豆) or Gan Bian Si Ji Dou, in China are cooked with Sichuan peppercorns with a little heat from the addition of dried chili peppers. This is unlike the other green bean recipes that we tend to make with preserved vegetables, sui mi ya cai (碎米芽菜).
Regardless of what version of gan bian si ji dou you’re making, the beans are stir-fried in a primarily dry wok. Hence, ”dry fried.” The string beans come wrinkled, and then they’re flavored with a few simple spices (namely, Sichuan peppercorns) and aromatics. But today we will use a shallow frying technique to achieve the same effect faster, the way the restaurants do it.
A Popular Sichuan Dish
Dry Fried String Beans is a popular staple dish in Sichuan restaurants. It’s always one of our favorite things to order at a Sichuan restaurant when we go as a family, along with Dan Dan Noodles (担担面) and spicy sliced beef and tripe (fuqi fei pian – 夫妻肺片) as starters.
For the main courses, as a food-obsessed family we almost always we go nuts and over-order. Sichuan dishes like Ma Po Tofu (麻婆豆腐), Three Pepper Chicken (三椒煸鸡), Twice-Cooked Pork (回锅肉), Sichuan Boiled Beef (水煮牛), Stir Fried Potatoes (炝炒土豆丝), and Chengdu Fried Rice (四川炒饭).
I know. It always ends up being a lot of food, but no one wants to forgo their favorite! Not to mention the doggie bags make for another great meal that everyone looks forward to the next day. Not that we wait for lunchtime to roll around–nothing like a breakfast of Sichuan leftovers!
The name Dry Fried String Beans means that this dish should indeed be somewhat dry, with no visible sauce pooling at the bottom of the plate. They key is to use high heat at the end to “dry up” the sauce to the point that it coats the string beans. With this technique, each string bean packs powerful flavor, which is what makes this dish so great. With the growing season coming to an end (and our bean plants going crazy), now’s the time to enjoy this recipe!
Sichuan Dry Fried String Beans: Recipe Instructions
Trim the tough ends off the string beans, and then cut them in half (each piece should be about 3 inches long). Wash them and pat them thoroughly dry with a kitchen towel to get rid of any water.
Heat ¼ cup of oil in a wok over medium high heat, and shallow fry the string beans in two batches. They are done once they appear wrinkled and slightly scorched. Use a strainer to remove the string beans from the wok and set aside.
Once all the string beans are shallow fried, turn off the heat. Scoop the oil out of the pan, except for 1 tablespoon. Turn the heat down to low, and add in the Sichuan peppercorns, ginger, garlic and dried red chilies (if using). Stir-fry for about 1 minute, until fragrant.
Next, add in the ground pork.
Turn up the heat to high, and stir-fry quickly to break up the pork and brown the meat slightly.
Add in the fried string beans, Shaoxing wine, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and sugar.
Toss everything well, and season with salt to taste. Stir-fry everything over high heat until any excess liquid has cooked off.
Serve your dry fried string beans with rice!