Wok-Fried Black Beans with Pickled Red Onion & Sugar Snaps

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Appears in

The Sugar Club Cookbook

By Peter Gordon

Published 1997

  • About

The colours of this dish are beautiful and the textures are light and crisp. I like to serve it with sliced roast duck breast on top or, as part of a feast, tossed cold through rocket and watercress leaves. The black beans I use are the delicious Spanish type that you find dried in speciality shops rather than the salted Asian variety, although black-eyed beans, aduki beans or mung beans would work as well.


  • 400g (14oz) dried black beans, soaked overnight in cold water
  • 3 medium-sized red onions
  • 4 large juicy lemons, squeezed to yield 250ml (9fl oz) juice
  • ½ cup chives, cut into lcm (⅓in) lengths
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
  • ½ cup finely sliced spring onions
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • cups sugar snaps, topped and tailed
  • 1 teaspoon Asian fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon tamari
  • 100ml (fl oz) water


Rinse the beans, put in a deep pot and add double the volume of cold water; bring to the boil and remove scum. Turn down to a fast simmer and cook for about an hour before testing one; continue cooking if it’s still a bit hard. Drain well in a colander when finished. While the beans are cooking peel the onions and slice finely into rings, pour the lemon juice over them, mix well and leave for an hour. Then add to the beans with the juice, herbs and spring onions and mix thoroughly.

Heat a wok to smoking point and put in the sesame oil, swirl around the wok and add the sugar snaps, keeping the heat on high (gas is best for this). Toss the snaps continuously for 1 minute, letting them blacken ever so slightly, then add the beans, toss for another minute, and last add the fish sauce, tamari and water. Cook for another minute and they are done.