If you've never tried growing your own, this is where I convince you! Most green beans for sale in the UK are brought in from Africa. Really long distances. I am all for supporting African farmers but I'm not convinced that growing green beans and exporting them to the UK is really the best thing, I don't know enough about it but it does seem strange to transport a product which grows so well in the British climate so far. What's more is until you've grown a green bean yourself, you've really not tasted one. Normally I cook bought green beans for 5-6 minutes in boiling water. Fresh from the plant, 4 minutes is almost too much and the flavour is outstanding. I have been known to have them as a dish in their own right just tossed in butter. Just me? Ok but trust me, the fuss around asparagus is not worth it. Green beans are where it's at.
But woman cannot live by green beans alone and so the idea to make them into a Chinese style dish came into my mind. I'm not convinced green beans are widely used in China; snake beans I believe are more common but I'm no aficionado. This was an idea to use the ingredients I had to hand, really, really fresh and zingy ingredients to make a lovely dish. Oh... and it was lovely. So lovely my 6 year old who'd already eaten his tea said:
"Can I try some?"
"Yes, but it is a little spicy, is that ok?"
"Ok. Can I have a prawn?"
"That's nice, can I try a bean?"
"Oooh... can I have another bean?"
"Hang on this is my dinner..."
So it had the 6 year old seal of approval. Praise indeed!
Prawns with Green Beans - Serves 1
Approx 10 raw peeled prawns
A large handful of green beans
1 spring onion (scallion)
2 cloves of garlic
Pinch of chilli flakes
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp light soy sauce or tamari (to make gluten free)
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp cornflour
1-2 tbsp water
Defrost the prawns if frozen and devein them. This is optional but if they do have any gritty residues in them, it is much nicer and it makes the prawns look pretty when they cook.
Heat the oil in the pan and add the sliced white parts of the onion and garlic (slice, rather than chop the garlic as it's nice to bite on the tender cooked garlic later). Fry for a minute or so keeping a close eye on it so it doesn't burn. Add the green beans and fry for another minute or so. (Optional, I like my beans slightly crunchy when stir fried but if you like your beans to be well cooked, add some water here so they steam slightly before adding the prawns. Just allow it to evaporate before continuing.)
Add in the prawns and chilli and fry for a minute or so, in the meantime, mix the soy, sesame oil, sugar, cornflour and 1 tbsp of water. Pour into the pan and stir fry to coat and help cook the prawns and beans. Add more water if liked for more sauce and to cook the beans a little more if liked. Serve when the prawns are cooked through sprinkled with the chopped green part of the spring onion if liked.
I've always wanted to cook with snake beans (also called yard long beans) which are such a traditional Chinese ingredient but I've never found fresh looking examples for sale in my local oriental supermarkets also they are allegedly much more difficult than green beans to cook well. I'm not sure and if you have any experience in cooking with them, please let me know. In any case, my super fresh, organic, 0 food miles green beans were delicious.
Linked up to real food Fridays.
Linked up to pick and mix Fridays