Having become an instant fan of Bellagio‘s green beans with salted duck egg and eaten it twice within the last three weeks, I was eager to recreate it at home. A quick search confirmed that the dish was simple enough to make, requiring few ingredients and steps.
I went to Carrefour, picked up a vacuum-sealed salted duck egg (咸蛋, 2.4 RMB) and a pack of organic yardlong beans (豇豆, 9.2 RMB) that looked like what I had at the restaurant.
(A note on some confusing terminology. Most restaurants seem to refer to anything resembling fried string beans as 四季豆 (sijidou), which translates to green/string/French beans, but what I bought was 豇豆 (jiangdou), which is the cowpea or yardlong bean. Check out the difference. I think I prefer the thinner yardlong bean, but the two can be used pretty much interchangeably.)
The organic cowpea beans were almost twice as expensive than the non-organic string beans, but looked a lot better, so I figured what the hell.
The beans were fun to handle but annoying to chop as they were so long. I quickly got tired of trying to cut them into 1cm bits…
I then fried the beans with some garlic, added the duck egg and some salt, and threw in a bit of sweet corn to balance out the flavours. Though beans are usually subjected to deep-frying in Chinese cooking, I hadn’t the heart — or the oil or the wok — to do so. But the result was delicious, salty, crunchy, with none of that squeakiness I hate about some home-cooked beans (that are either not cooked enough, or not cooked with enough oil). It’s a perfect dish to accompany rice, but since it wasn’t too salty it was fine to eat right off the plate (I had some boiled purple sweet potatoes on the side).
I’d never really considered incorporating fresh peas or beans in our home-cooked meals, mostly because having to manually remove the tough “string” of each pod seemed like more work than it was worth. But I’d mistakenly dismissed all fresh beans from my experience with only one or two types (snap peas, I’m lookin at you). These cowpea beans do not require stringing, and apart from their unwieldy length, are pretty much no-fuss. Thanks to Bellagio, I now have a new veggie to work with, woohoo!
Beans with salted duck egg
300g fresh yardlong beans/other long beans, chopped into very short sections, ends removed
1 salted duck egg (ready to eat)
5 cloves garlic, minced
Corn kernels (canned or frozen, optional)
1. Heat 3 tbsp oil on medium-heat heat. Add garlic and beans and fry for 3 minutes.
2. Chop up egg into very small pieces. Mix both yolk and white evenly into beans and add salt to taste. Add corn now if applicable, and keep frying until beans are done. Serve with rice.