Summertime in Chicago meant green beans fresh from the neighbourhood gardens. And nothing is better than simply stir-frying the beans in a touch of fermented bean curd: it makes this classical vegetable dish piquant and savoury while retaining the freshness and crunch of the beans. Fermented bean curd, available in jars, can easily be found at Chinese grocers and supermarkets.
Trim the green beans.
Heat a wok or large frying pan over a high heat until it is hot. Swirl in the oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, toss in the garlic and stir-fry for 10 seconds. Then quickly spoon in the fermented bean curd and crush it with a spatula, breaking it into small pieces. Throw in the green beans and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Pour in the rice wine, add the sugar and water, cover and continue to cook for a further 3 minutes. Place on a serving platter and serve at once.
© 1998 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.