22 Jul Long Bean & Eggplant Coconut Curry
Long Bean & Eggplant Coconut Curry
Yield: 2 Servings
Time: 20 Minutes
I have always been obsessed with the Szechwan green beans at Chinese Restaurants. In the pre-online-recipe days, I tried and failed to re-create the dish but never got it quite right. The ah-ha moment finally came when I discovered two things. One, that at the restaurants I was not eating garden variety green beans but actually Long Beans, a type bean that is grown on a climbing vine (instead of on a plant like regular green beans), has more of the flavor and texture of a green bean-asparagus mix, and are usually 1 – 1.5 feet in length (which is why they are also known as Yardlong Beans.) Two, that using the technique of dry frying (where you deep fry the beans without any coating or batter and the high heat sucks out a ton of the interior moisture and breaks down the exterior and concentrates the flavor) is key to the getting the right texture.
This Long Bean dish is a funky multi country hybrid of my favorite Thai Green Curry and Szechwan Green Beans, for no other reason than because I was having an indecisive day and just couldn’t pick between the two. I used gorgeous purple long beans that I found this week at the market, but the standard green ones are just as amazing.
I Tablespoon Sesame Oil
2 Tablespoons Peeled Finely Julienned Ginger
3 Large Cloves Garlic, Peeled and Thinly Sliced
1 Teaspoon Ground Szechuan Peppercorns (I use Penzeys Szechuan Peppercorn Blend, if you can’t find you can use black pepper instead)
½ Cup + 10 Thai Basil Leaves
1 Small Japanese Eggplant, thinly sliced into rounds
1 Can of Coconut Milk
1 Bunch of Long Beans, Sliced into 6 inch pieces
Kosher Salt, to taste (about 1-2 pinches)
Dry fry your beans. Heat about 2 inches of Canola oil in a wok or dutch oven til it pops and sizzles when you drop a splash of water in it. Drop in long beans and fry for about 1 minute, until beans start to expand, slightly blister, and wrinkle. Drain on paper towels and set aside.
In a wok or skillet over medium high heat, saute garlic and ginger in sesame oil until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add coconut milk, a pinch of salt, pepper, 20 whole basil leaves, and eggplant. Turn heat to low and simmer eggplant gently until tender, about 15 minutes.
Add Beans and simmer for another 3 minutes.
Salt to taste.
Remove, garnish with more basil (the more the better in my book) and serve over steamed rice.
Read more about Long Beans here
Read more about Dry Frying here