Ying's ideas of easy Chinese home-cooking

Quick-Fry – Fried Snap Beans with Perilla Leaves

紫蘇炒四季豆

It’s what we call the Lesser Fullness of Grain /小满 these few days, the second Solar Term in Summer. It’s not stably hot enough and mostly rainy and stormy. Usually in this period, fresh peas and green beans are largely in season. In summertime, we surely don’t want to spend too much time in steaming kitchen, thus, I would like to make an easy quick-fry dish with green peas.

To season the sweet beans, I use perilla. Perilla is herb or mint commonly used in Asian cuisine, as far as I know, Korean and Japanese. But actually Cantonese like it as well. It’s almost equally important as spring onion and coriander in Cantonese cooking. It can be easily seen in many dishes, to name some, Steamed Pork Ribs, Steamed Fish Head, Poached Shrimp, Pickled Asian Green Plum, Perilla Wine, etc. The leaves are usually sold in Korean or Japanese grocery stores but if you purchase it in Chinese grocery stores or farmer’s markets, they might come with the stalks. The stalk smells even stronger like other herbs, but it’s very tough to chew, so it’s usually used in pickled food or marinating.

Ingredients –
Snap beans, 250g;
Beef or pork mince, 150g;
Perilla leaves, 10 or as many as you like;
Garlic, 3 cloves;
Dry red chili, 1, optional;
Light soy sauce, 2tbsp;
Oyster sauce, 2tbsp;
Cornstarch, 1tbsp.

How to do –

1. Remove the string if there is any. That’s the hard strand running the two sides of the pod. But nowadays green beans are mostly stringless. Then cut it into about 2 inches long;

2. Garlic, chili, perilla roughly chopped;

3. Heat some oil in hot pan, put in the garlic and fry till fragrant;

4. Then in the beef mince, also fry till brown;

5. Add in beans, perrila and chili, flip and stir well, put in a little water, about half cup, lid on, cook for a few minutes in high heat. Snap beans must be cooked thoroughly otherwise they are a little poisonous;

6. Season with soy sauce and oyster sauce. I want to make a thin gravy so that the mince and beans can combine together better. Mix 1tbsp of cornstarch with about 1/4cup of water, then pour in, flip to mix well and cook for a few more second till sauce sticky;
7. This is a quick-fry dish so keep in high heat and it wouldn’t take more than 10 minutes. Serve with steamed rice.

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