Stir-fried broad beans are an unusual and exotic food to Western eyes. As such, they can make delicious starter to go with drinks (on cocktail sticks) or they can be served as a simple vegetarian first course. They are, of course, most delicious when they are as fresh as can be, but they are also quite acceptable in frozen form. Here they are simply stir-fried in the wok, the various seasonings giving the beans a richness of taste.
If you are using fresh broad beans, shell them and blanch them for 2 minutes in boiling salted water. Drain them thoroughly and refresh them in cold water. When cool, slip off the skins. If you are using the frozen beans, simply thaw them.
Heat a wok or large frying-pan over high heat until it is hot. Add the oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, add the salt, pepper and broad beans. Stir-fry for 1 minute. Then add the sugar, water or stock, and Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry and continue to stir-fry over high heat for 2 minutes. Finally, stir in the sesame oil, give the mixture two turns and serve at once.
Alternatively, you can allow the dish to cool and serve it at room temperature.
© 1996 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.