Spicy Corn and Long Bean Stir-Fry
This is a simple stir-fry you can add to full-meat stir-fries as a side dish, eat as vegetarian, or do like I do- serve it up along with a big bowl of steaming fried rice!
Food as abstract art, finger painting, or just pushing peas with a fork.
This quick vegetable dish makes me think of Anthony Bourdain after watching the season finale of his show “Parts Unknown” where they had an “after” party with a panel at some cocktail lounge in Vegas. Among the things discussed were international food and Paula Deen (if you can even fit that into the same sentence) concerning an understanding of ethnic foods. And then (what was it?) that Bourdain said to the effect of people shouldn’t explore variations on recipes until they have perfected the classics.
And also someone said something to the effect that people should cook what they have been raised with. Now, despite my name, I was NOT raised Asian. And I never studied at the CIA (nor do I intend to), but all that set aside and without being smug about it. I feel I can handle the classics. And I don’t intend to cook only the foods I was raised with. I mean, to me, what Bourdain said smells of FEAR. Fear to explore new tastes and new variations on ideas already visited.
Because let’s face it, there is not one new culinary creation to be had at this point in the game. And while we may not have been raised with certain ingredients, we may have grown in the culinary sense with them. And even if we have not, I believe our palates do. So I can say with certainty that having never tasted an ingredient, but having it only described to me, I can begin to develop a satisfying recipe for it. That doesn’t mean I never fail. I have had some spectacular failures!
But my blog, IS, in fact, about the palate, our taste, and how it grows to maturity so that we can enjoy all foods. If I do see a food I haven’t tried, I am dead set on trying it and cooking it. It’s how I pass time, because I no longer work in foodservice (nor do I wish to). I have done all the jobs there are in that, perhaps not chef, but I did CHEF’S work while he dutifully held up the wall so it wouldn’t fall on me where I stood. 😉 I have cooked a lot of food for a LOT of people. But there is no real glamour in it. It’s not fun working odd hours, holidays, coming home smelling of grease, and being on a first name basis with burns, cuts and hairnets. Even television personality chefs I have spoke to still push a mop. I’ve heard people talk about dreams of opening their own place, and wonder if they knew it would become their life. That behind the smiles of people thanking them much for their cooking, there are also grumpy cat customers ready to diss their first bite. And the pay stinks.
But let me finish my diatribe on the dangers of being a food professional by saying the most fun to be had is in your home, cooking for people you love, and loving what you do. It’s what I do. It’s my palatable pastime.
Anyway, this dish is made with ingredients that don’t fit into any single cuisine. It’s definitely Asian. And hops from place to place from there. Not that I am being haphazard with my ingredients or style- it’s just that there is the idea in my head and these ingredients are the keys to the doors that open to that flavor. My palate knows each ingredient intimately. It’s quite possible in fact, that these ingredients have never been paired this way together before. And if so, that is the most ridiculous thing I have ever thought. Because they should have been.
They taste like they have always been friends.
Mood music to stir-fry by: Gnossiennes No. 1 – Lent by Erik Satie
- 5 ounces Chinese long beans, trimmed to about 3-inch lengths
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 carrots, chopped
- 1/2 cup bamboo shoots cut into matchsticks
- 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, chopped
- 15 ounce can baby corn, drained; corn quartered lengthwise
- 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1-2 fresh jalapenos or fresh serrano peppers or hot Thai chiles, sliced (optional)
- 1-2 tablespoons wok oil (peanut)
Did you know? Chinese long beans are not just long string beans or green beans. They are not related. They may appear similar in shape, but they really do taste different. And you can substitute green beans, but be aware- doing so is not making a long bean dish.It is making a green bean dish. You can often find fresh long beans fresh in Asian or Indian/Pakistani markets in many cities.
- 2 tablespoons ketjap manis
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
- 1 teaspoon hot sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger
- Stir together wok ingredients and set aside.
- Heat oil in the wok and add the onion, garlic, jalapeno, and carrots. Stir fry until onion begins to soften.
- Add the long beans and mushrooms and stir-fry until mushrooms brown lose their steam and beans are crisp-tender.
- Add the bamboo shoots and corn, and continue cooking until the steam dissipates.
- Mix in sauce and cook until sauce thickens and reduces.
- Serve with rice or fried rice.
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