By Chef Chris De La Rosa
Like spinach, and all greens, beans of all types are my some of my favorite foods to eat and cook. This recipe is based on a bean dish, found at many Chinese restaurants in Trinidad and Tobago — and in Markham, Ontario.
While not the exact thing, it can hold its own, on any dinner table. Feel free to use ground beef, turkey or pork if you want to play around with the protein a bit.
And I’m sure my vegan friends can make use of some form tofu, if you’d like, to give this one a test-drive. By the way, salted cod bits would rock in this recipe too, instead of the chicken.
1 lb string beans (trimmed)
1/2 lb ground chicken
2 tablespoon veg oil (add more if needed)
1 tablespoon diced ginger
2 large cloves garlic (diced fine)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Hoisin Sauce
2-4 drops sesame oil
1 1/4 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2-3 birds eye pepper
1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine
IMPORTANT! Please go though the entire list of ingredients if making this dish gluten-free, to make sure it meets with your specific gluten-free dietary needs — especially the soy and Hoisin sauces.
In your wok or pan, add the vegetable oil and ground chicken, and brown off on a medium heat. As it cooks, bring a pot of water to a boil, then go in with the trimmed beans. Blanche quickly (about 2-3 minutes), then rinse in cold water, or in a bowl with water and ice. The idea is to stop the cooking and help maintain the brilliant green color.
I added the vegetable oil, as the ground chicken can be very dry. Note that during the winter months in Canada, the water in the tap is very cold, so I didn’t have to use ice.
Be sure to break up the chicken as it browns off. It took about 5-7 minutes. Now add the garlic, ginger and diced bird’s eye pepper (I included the seeds for a gentle kick). Cook on low heat so you don’t burn the garlic. After about 3 minutes, add the Hoisin sauce, black pepper, and soy sauce. Stir well and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add the sesame oil and cooking wine, and stir.
Turn the heat up (med/high) to get a bit of crisp edges on the ground chicken, then go in with the beans and stir well. Top with the salt. Do keep in mind that the soy sauce I used, will help to season this dish, so be mindful if adding extra salt.
After adding the beans, I cooked it for another 4 minutes or so, but you can cook for longer or less, depending on how you like your beans cooked. Be mindful that we did precook the beans a bit at the start. Adjust the salt at this point. I topped with a whole bird’s eye pepper for show.
A lovely dish, influenced by our rich Chinese history and culture in the Caribbean. Do give it a try.