Szechwan Dry-Fried String Beans

Course : Chinese
Serves: 4
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1 tablespoon dried shrimp
1 tablespoon preserved Sichuan preserved -- vegetable
3 cups peanut oil for deep frying
1 pound string beans -- snapped in
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 tablespoon garlic finely chopped
4 ounces ground pork butt
1 medium green onion -- minced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 dash white pepper
2 teaspoons dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons chicken stock
1 dash sesame oil

Preparation / Directions:

This green-bean dish is outstanding. The green beans exude aromatic flavors and have an interesting chewy texture. I do not fry the beans as long as traditional recipes call for because I want them to have some texture left. Cover the dried shrimp with hot water for 30 minutes. Drain. Chop into the consistency of coarse bread crumbs. Rinse the Sichuan preserved vegetables with cold water to wash off the brine and salt; chop into the same texture as the shrimp. In a hot wok add the oil and heat to 375F. Deep fry the beans in two or three batches for 2 to 3 minutes or until they look wrinkled, blistered and khaki color. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the oil from the wok. Reheat the wok over high heat. Add the ginger and garlic; stir-fry for 15 seconds. Add the pork, preserved mustard, dried shrimp; stir-fry for 1 minute longer. Poke and break up the clumps of pork so that it looks crumbled. Add the green onion, sugar, white pepper and soy sauce; toss together to blend. Return the reserved green beans, chicken stock and sesame oil; toss vigorously over high heat until all liquids are reduced and absorbed, about 2 to 3 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

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