Chinese chef and restaurateur Andrew Wong has a new cookbook out, named for his renowned London eatery, A. Wong. Follow in the celebrated chef’s footsteps as he revisits his culinary travels through China, selecting his favorite recipes to share along the way. You may have had wok-fried snap beans (a.k.a. string beans) before, but you’ve definitely never had Wong’s.
The secret to this dish is to ensure that you don’t overcook the snap beans when deep-frying before adding them to the wok. When we first opened the restaurant, we were going through boxes and boxes of green beans every day purely because the chefs would repeatedly miss the critical stage at which the skin of the beans just begins to shrivel and therefore they would keep ending up in the garbage. The chef Corey Lee explains in a book I bought recently that many of our fellow professionals pursue standards that exist only in their heads and devote their lives to fine points that few people notice — in my case, the exact moment when the beans need to be lifted out of the fryer!
- vegetable oil, for deep-frying, plus a drizzle
- 1 1/4 cups green snap beans (also known as string beans)
- Scant 1/2 cup ground pork
- 1 teaspoon fermented chili bean paste
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine
- 1 tablespoon preserved vegetables
- pinch of salt
- drizzle of sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground toasted Sichuan peppercorns, or more if you like the mouth-numbing sensation
For the beans
Add the oil for deep-frying to a deep fryer and heat it to 210°F.
Meanwhile, trim the snap beans.
Deep-fry the beans until they are 80 percent cooked (when the surface of the beans just starts to wrinkle). Remove them from the oil and drain on paper towels.
Add a drizzle of vegetable oil to a hot wok and stir-fry the ground pork until brown and dry, then stir in the chili bean paste.
Add the wine and then the beans and mix through before adding the preserved vegetables and salt.
Finish with a drizzle of sesame oil and the ground Sichuan pepper before serving immediately.