Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Szechuan Green Beans

This doesn't taste like anything I ate in Szechuan, but it does taste pretty good...

Szechuan Green Beans
Serves 4 as a side. Feel free to multiply or divide

250 g Green Beans, rinsed and trimmed
6 g Sesame Oil (the roasted, strong, Asian kind)
16 g Unseasoned Rice Vinegar
24 g Yeo's Sweet Chili Sauce (or ketchup, maybe with a little sambal oelek or cayenne mixed in)
48 g Soy Sauce
25 g Chee Hou Sauce or Hoisin Sauce
5 g Ginger, grated
11 g Honey or Agave Nectar (if you're a vegan) or Corn Syrup (if you're a soulless corporation)
2 g Szechuan Peppercorn Oil; I got mine at a store, but you could make your own.
One or two drops Vanilla Extract
.13 g Xanthan Gum (optional in the extreme)

Bring a large pot full of well-salted water (the water should be salty like the sea) to a boil. Have a bowl of ice water or an extraordinarily large bowl or pot of very cold water nearby. Also have a spider or strainer handy. Boil the beans in the salty water for a minute or two or three until they taste how you want them to, texture-wise. Plunge them into the ice/cold water to stop them from cooking further. Let them chill out there for a while.

Combine all the other ingredients. You can do this with a fork or whisk, in a bowl. If you care about the oil and the water not separating, you can slowly emulsify the oils into everything else. If you're a real stickler for emulsion stability, you can put everything in a blender, put the blender on high, and shear in the xanthan gum until fully dispersed.

If the beans are completely cooled by now, drain them and toss them with the sauce. Refrigerate and serve cold or at room temperature.

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