Explorer | Long Beans

I am not a snob when it comes to where I’ll shop for ingredients.  I am very happy to pick up whatever looks good where ever I go.  I was at Meijer recently (which is a mid-western version of Wal-Mart) to pick up some Kinder for Cherub.  And batteries, for all the toys she got for Christmas that died faster than you can blink.  Le sigh.  I digress.

I am always so pleased to see the wide variety of produce they carry.  Not just limited to your typical cucumbers, lettuces and onions, Meijers in Columbus seem to have every manner of exotic produce that you can imagine: from fresh tamarind pods to bitter melon to long beans.

I have heard from a friend that the partial reason for this was a well-loved local chef/owner of a very posh restaurant used to stop at Meijer on the way to his restaurant to pick up the stray ingredient.  And the good folks at Meijer would order just about anything his heart desired.  Hence, local Meijers now stock rather comprehensive produce departments that are well worth a stop in and a meander.

I was inspired by the long beans that day.  Similar to green beans in taste and texture, they are only different in their magnificent length.  Which for the harried cook, means far less trimming!  Nice.

Long beans partner especially beautifully with Chinese cuisine, most notably buckwheat noodles.

But don’t let that stop you.

The following night I tossed them with Italian ingredients including tomatoes and fettuccine.  Equally fabulous.

Our first dinner was a baked salmon glazed with honey, miso and sesame oil.  And these lovely beans tossed together with buckwheat noodles.  The whole thing came together in just about 20 minutes.  And as for the quote of the night as to whether we should buy long beans again, Cherub chirped, “If you want me to eat my dinner, you have to make this every night.”

Chinese Long Beans with Garlic and Soy, serves 3, inspired by a recipe originally found in, of all cookbooks, Healthy Cooking for the Jewish Home

1 T miso paste

1/4 c water

1 T soy sauce

1 T vegetable or peanut oil

1 t peeled, grated ginger

2 garlic cloves, finely minced

1/2 lb long beans, trimmed and chopped into fourths or fifths

1 T chopped scallions, green parts only

Mash miso in a small bowl with the hot water and soy.

Heat oil in wok or large pan over high heat.  Add garlic and ginger when oil is hot and cook for 15 seconds.  Add in beans and cook, stirring for 30 to 45 seconds.  Add in the miso sauce.  Give a good stir and cover pan.  Cover and cook for four minutes, reducing heat to medium, shaking pan regularly, but not removing the lid.  Uncover and reduce for a minute or two to evaporate the liquid.  Add in the scallions and toss.  Taste for seasoning.

That night I tossed the beans and sauce (prior to it reducing) with some buckwheat noodles, adding in a bit more soy to season the noodles well.   This was the bed for that honey miso salmon.   We all loved it.  I hope you do, too.

Playlist included the whoa amazing new to me Liam Bailey singing an acoustic version of It’s Not the Same.

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3 Comments to “Explorer | Long Beans”

  1. We grew these in our vegetable garden – they were incredibly resilient, and grew SO FAST. Delicious blanched, sauteed, raw… I’m glad to see you’ve discovered them too – they were very easy to grow. I ordered the seeds on-line from Kitazawa.

  2. I added these to a “What I want to plant 2012” on Pinterest! Thanks for the tip on where to get the seeds! Also, hi!

  3. One more note – you have to pick them daily or else they get too large. We grew red ones (Red Noodle) that were prolific! They also changed color (to green) when they were blanched, so they are quite interesting. Also – you can get your shiso seeds (and a variety of other Asian plants) there as well. Happy planting + cooking, and hello! Happy New Year!

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