Green Beans in Pungent Sauce

I often enjoyed this easy-to-make homely dish as a child. Fresh green beans are a nutritious and inexpensive vegetable and lend themselves to spices and seasonings that complement their delicate flavour. In this recipe, the pungent spiciness of fermented chilli beancurd turns the vegetable into something quite special. You will find fermented beancurd at Chinese grocers; you may choose from various types, ranging from mild to quite spicy. In using so lively a spice as chilli beancurd, remember that a little goes a long way.


  • 1 tablespoon oil, preferably groundnut
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon fermented chilli beancurd
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 450 g (1 lb) Chinese long beans or runner beans, trimmed and sliced, or French beans, trimmed and left whole
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine or dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoons water


Heat a wok or large frying-pan and add the oil. When moderately hot, add the garlic, beancurd and salt and stir-fry for about 30 seconds. Add the beans, rice wine and water and continue to stir-fry over a moderately high heat for about 5 minutes or until the beans are thoroughly cooked, adding more water if necessary to keep the beans moist. Serve at once.