TEAM Eats: Sz Ji Dou (Funny Beans)

This month we made an asian green bean dish from Taiwan.
Check out this delicious recipe for sz ji dou, which one of our missionaries in Taiwan affectionately calls "funny beans."

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. 

The green beans are cut diagonally and place in a glass bowl.

2. Trim the ends and cut on the diagonal into pieces approximately 2 inches long.

3. Combine the sauce ingredients and set aside.

All of the ingredients for the sauce are mixed together in a glass bowl.

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. 

The green beans are stir fried.

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. 

All of the other ingredients are added to the stir fried green beans.

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!

The finished funny beans are ready to be eaten.

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About the author

Julie Heinsman

Julie Heinsman and her husband, Ron, have been missionaries in Taiwan since 1995. They moved with two young children and now those kids are adults with families of their own. Julie serves at Morrison Academy, a school for missionary and international students in Taiwan. She recently became the principal of Morrison's Kaohsiung campus and in two years will become superintendent.


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