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What do you get when you combine long beans, ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil? A long beans recipe that makes for an outstanding side dish that takes a quick 15 minutes to make. You gotta try this!
Long beans are popular in Asian recipes, but if you've never tried cooking with them, this recipe will put a spot for long beans in your heart. This recipe for long beans makes delicious, savory, crunchy beans, steeped in some Asian-inspired flavors. But first:
What are long beans?
What are long beans anyway? The first distinction to make is that although they may look similar to what are commonly known as “green” beans, they aren't the same as green beans that are typically found in North American grocery stores. In fact, long beans are more closely related to black-eyed peas. So, let's dive into what to expect from these lengthy and tasty beans:
How are long beans different than green beans?
Long beans are also known as Chinese long beans, asparagus beans, snake beans, or yard-long beans. They are much longer than green beans, they have a different taste, and take longer to cook due to a slightly tougher exterior. This is why long beans are able to remain crunchy in stir-fries, soups, and stews.
What do long beans taste like?
Long beans have a distinct flavor. They are less sweet than green beans and have an earthy, grassy taste. They lend themselves to savory recipes, like this long beans recipe, that combines toasted sesame oil, minced garlic and ginger, anchovy paste, sriracha, and soy sauce.
How to prepare long beans
Appropriately named long beans, these veggies are usually harvested around 18 inches but can reach up to 3 feet long! When you do pick them up from the store, you'll notice they're all bunched together in a small heap under their packaging to accommodate for their length. Don't be put off by the mass of beans, you'll prepare them so that they appear less unruly.
They have a crunchy exterior and softer inside, and you can eat them raw or cooked. If you do plan to cook them, chop the ends off of the long beans and cut them into 3-inch lengths. This will make them a more fork and mouth-friendly size to eat.
How to make this long beans recipe
- Prepare the beans: Cut the ends off as you normally would and then cut each bean into 3-inch pieces.
- Blanch the long beans: Bring 3 inches of salted water to a boil in a medium-sized pot. Add the long beans and cook for 2 minutes. This blanching process will help bring out a nice flavor in the beans.
- Cook: Heat the oils in a large frying pan or wok and saute the garlic and ginger for one minute.
- Finish: Add the long beans, anchovy paste, sriracha, and soy sauce and stir well. Cook the beans for 1-2 minutes, or until they are tender but still have some crunch.
For this long beans recipe you'll need:
- Long beans: you can get them at certain grocery stores or sometimes at farmers' markets.
- Toasted sesame oil and cooking oil: This is what you'll stir-fry the beans in and gives a base coating of that delicious nutty, sesame flavor.
- Minced garlic and minced ginger: The sharp zing of both garlic and ginger brings this dish to life.
- Anchovy paste, or minced anchovies: This gives a slight fishy and salty flavor. It isn't overwhelming or even detectable once the dish is complete, but the umami it brings to the table is huge.
- Sriracha: This will add some heat to your dish. You can incorporate it as directed, or put a small amount at a time and adjust it to your liking.
- Soy sauce: This will provide that rich, salty flavor that we know and love from soy sauce.
Is this a traditional Chinese long beans recipe?
Our long beans recipe is inspired by bold, spicy, Sichuan flavors. We use Sriracha to make these spicy, which is not an ingredient used in traditional Chinese cooking. But most of us have a bottle in our fridge and it adds great flavor to these beans.
On top of that, we use ginger, garlic, sesame oil, and soy sauce to bring loads of flavor to these beans.
To bring the big umami punch to this recipe, we use anchovies. While we use the Italian variety, using cured fish to add flavor to recipes is common throughout Asia – think fish sauce, salt fish, and Chinese dried anchovies.
So while we can't claim that this is a traditional Chinese long beans recipe, we promise you that it is very delicious!
What to serve with long beans
These Chinese long beans are a wonderful side dish, and if you're looking to pair them up to make an entire meal, here are some delicious serving options:
Can I use green beans instead of long beans?
If you can't find long beans, you can use green beans for this recipe. Consider adjusting the cooking time, as it will take less time to cook green beans.
Do I need to add the anchovies?
The anchovies add a lot of umami flavor to the recipe. For a vegetarian/vegan alternative, you can use miso paste. In that case, we recommend you use low-sodium soy sauce so the dish doesn't get too salty.
Is this dish really spicy?
We don't think it'll knock your socks off, but it does have a bit of heat. If you or your family prefer less heat, simply reduce the amount of sriracha.
- 1 lb long beans
- 1 tablespoon EACH: toasted sesame oil and cooking oil
- 1 tablespoon EACH: minced garlic and minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon anchovy paste (or minced anchovies)
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- Trim the ends off of the long beans and cut them into 3-inch lengths.1 lb long beans
- Bring 3 inches of salted water to a boil in a medium-sized pot. Add the long beans and cook for 2 minutes. Drain the water and set the pot aside.
- Heat the oils in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for one minute.1 tablespoon EACH: toasted sesame oil and cooking oil, 1 tablespoon EACH: minced garlic and minced ginger
- Add the long beans, anchovy paste, sriracha, and soy sauce to the pan and stir well. Cook the beans for 1-2 minutes, or until they are tender but still have some crunch. Serve right away.1 tablespoon anchovy paste, 1 tablespoon sriracha, 1 tablespoon soy sauce
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.