My husband and I both grew up as missionary kids in Taiwan. This meant growing up eating Chinese food. My mother would often bring home unusual-looking beans from the market. They were dark green and very long. We grew up calling these beans “funny beans”.
As adults, we have come to love eating what we now know to be called sz ji dou ( 四季豆 ) at local restaurants. This dish is those same familiar funny beans fried up with a delicious sauce.
Although this recipe does not quite match the texture of the restaurant dish, the flavors are terrific. It’s simple to make, and if you can’t get funny beans, ordinary green beans will work just fine. Warning: this dish originated in Sz Chuan so be ready for a little bit of spicy heat!
Here’s how to make sz ji dou!
10 long Chinese beans (or 30 ordinary green beans)
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp chopped ginger
2 scallions, chopped, white part only
1/2 tsp red bean chili paste (or chili sauce)
1 tbsp hoisin sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1 ½ tsp sugar
3 tbsp oil for stir-frying, or as needed
1. Wash the green beans and drain thoroughly.
2. Trim the ends and cut on the diagonal into pieces approximately 2 inches long.
3. Combine the sauce ingredients and set aside.
4. Heat the wok on medium heat and add 2 tablespoons oil, drizzling the oil down the sides of the wok.
5. When the oil is hot, add the beans.
6. Stir fry for 7 to 10 minutes, until the beans are tender without being mushy and their skins pucker and turn brown.
7. Add the chopped garlic, ginger and scallions.
8. Stir fry briefly for a few seconds until aromatic. Add the chili paste.
9. Add the sauce. Toss the ingredients together and serve hot. Enjoy!
Subscribe to our blog to see more recipes from our missionaries around the world, and hear stories from the mission field!