For this recipe, I used thin green beans (actually French haricots verts), which have the diameter but not the length of Chinese long beans. Long beans, also known as yard-long beans (豆角, dòu jiǎo), are ideal for this dish. Long beans have a more pronounced “bean” taste and a softer texture than Western green beans, but that notwithstanding, green beans make an equally tasty dish.
Tianjin preserved vegetable (天津冬菜, Tiānjīn dōngcài) is chopped cabbage that has been cured with salt. Used as a seasoning, it adds saltiness and a rich and savory umame taste to food. The preserved vegetable traces its origin to Tianjin, the fourth largest city in China, which is located on the Hai river north of Beijing. Tianjin preserved vegetable comes in a famous brown jar with a classic shape.
Chopped fine, the preserved vegetable looks like this:
INGREDIENTS and PREP:
- 1/2 lb Chinese long beans, haricots verts, or regular Western green beans, cut into 2-4″ lengths
- 2 Tbsp Tianjin preserved vegetable (天津冬菜), sliced fine
- 1Tbsp soy sauce, 2 tsp Shaoxing rice wine
- Heat your wok until barely smoking. Then add 1 Tbsp peanut oil and swirl it around. Then add the beans (#1) and stir-fry them until bright green and just beginning to blister.
- Turn the heat down to medium and add the Tianjin preserved vegetable (#2) and stir-fry for about 30 seconds until warmed through.
- Pour in the sauce (#3) and stir until everything is hot and coated.
VARIATIONS: Add 1/4 cup ground pork to the wok and cook for about 30 seconds before adding the beans. The sauce (#3) is minimalist and delicious as is, but you can develop it further if you like. If your accompanying dishes aren’t spicy, consider adding 2 tsp chile oil or 1 Tbsp chili bean paste to the sauce.