Stir-fried Fava Beans with Ground Pork and Pickled Vegetable

Fresh fava beans are such a culinary delicacy.  The fresh beans come with light green color and a mild grassy, earthy and refreshing scent and taste.  When cooked, they become a bit sweet and starchy. 

For those who have never had fava beans before, they are very similar to what young lima beans taste like.  The skin on the outside is a little bit firmer than lima beans.  And they are both very tasty!

I cook with fresh fava beans a lot.  The best season for them is late summer.  And they are usually available in Asian grocery markets.  If you live in Houston like I do, Central Market is another good place to shop for fresh fava beans too.

Ingredients:

2 lbs fresh fava beans
200  to 300 g ground pork
1/2  package of Sichuan pickled vegetable, finely chopped (1/2 package weighs about 50 g.  It is sold in most Asian grocery stores)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup of chicken broth/ water
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 slice of ginger root, minced
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
5 to 6 dry red chili peppers, diced
vegetable oil for cooking
salt to taste

Fresh young fava beans are usually sold in pods so that they stay fresh and the beans don’t get bruised. 

Pick the ones with big fat “belly”.

Peel fava beans from their pods.

Directions:

Heat a cast iron wok over high heat.  Add oil, along with minced garlic, ginger, diced peppers and ground pork.  Stir fry over high heat for several minutes until the ground pork begin to turn slightly golden brown.

Add chopped Sichuan pickled vegetable. Sautee for a minute or two. 

Add fava beans and sautee everything together for another couple minutes.

Add chicken broth/water, along with rice cooking wine, oyster suace, low sodium soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sugar and salt.  Cover with lid and reduce the heat to simmer for 7 to 8 minutes.

Turn the heat back to high and cook until the broth evaporate. 

Sautee over high heat for another couple minutes. 

Remove from heat and serve hot immediately.

Sweet and Sour Pickled Jerusalem Artichokes

中文菜谱: 酸甜泡洋姜

I grow Jerusalem artichokes every year.  Well, to be more accurate, they pretty much raise themselves over the years.  All I did was to plant two young plants in the field which was a gift from a loving close friend.  They grew like crazy and I harvested a lot of Jerusalem artichokes the first year.  That encouraged me to grow them every year after that.

 Besides, they are perfect for pickling. Jerusalem artichokes are very crunchy when pickled.  And they have a mild flavor so that they go well with most other pickled vegetables.  I did Sichuan style pickles with my home grown Jerusalem artichokes first year. (it was posted here: https://www.yankitchen.com/english-blog/sichuan-style-pickled-jerusalem-artichoke)

I harvest more Jerusalem artichokes than ever this year.  After sharing them with friends and families, I still have a lot left.  Besides Sichuan style pickling this year, I also try sweet and sour flavor.  You know what?  They are a hit too!

I accidently planted a young one next to my window.  It grew into a big beautiful plant.  At the end of summer, those small bright yellow flowers were blooming.  Weren’t they just pretty?

Time to dig out the Jerusalem artichokes

I couldn’t believe one single plant can yield so many Jerusalem artichokes

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These were harvested from my vegetable garden.

That was less than half of the crop this year

I used garden hose to rinse off excess dirt

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Jerusalem artichokes as well as potatoes。。。O(∩_∩)O~

I brought Jerusalem artichokes home and rinsed them again.

Air dried them on racks for about one day.  Their color became a bit dull.

I pickled half of them Sichuan style.

The other half was sweet and sour flavor which my hometown has been famous for.

It is really quite simple.

In a clean glass jar, mix white vinegar and sugar at the ratio of 3:1; use 2:1 if you have a sweet tooth.  Add a pinch of sea salt.  Mix well.  Add Jerusalem artichokes.

They should be ready to eat in a week.

It is very crunchy and I love it about them

Sometimes I want to spice things up.  Dice the pickled Jerusalem artichokes and mix them with garlic chili paste.  That gives the pickled a spicy twist and more flavors.

Boiled Young Peanuts

中文菜谱: 盐水煮嫩花生

It is September already.  Fall and cool air have not arrived at Houston yet.  It is still very hot and humid outside, like we are still in the middle of a super long summer.

However, fresh produces sold on the market are beginning to show the signs of fall.  New crop of peanuts are in season now.  Oh gee, I can’t describe how much I love these young peanuts recently dug up from underground.

A lot of people love boiled peanuts.  But not so many have tried young peanuts.  They are a bit less crunchy than the regular ones, but they are packed with such a sweet, refreshing, nutty, and earthy flavor. 

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Ingredients:

1 lb young peanuts
2 to 3 star anises
1 to 2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns
3 to 4 cloves
2 bay leaves
5 to 6 dried chili peppers
sea salt to taste
water for boiling

Directions:

Thoroughly rinse the peanuts under running water.  Add to a small stock pot, along with spices and seasonings and water.

Heat over high heat until the water boils.  Cover with lid.  Reduce the heat to simmer for 15 minutes.

I keep the boiling time so short to preserve the crunchy texture from young peanuts.  If you prefer softer and tender texture, extend the cooking time to 30 to 40 minutes or more if needed.  

Boiled peanuts and a cold beer, what a pleasant treat! O(∩_∩)O~

Pickled Young Ginger Roots

Pickled vegetables have been a long time tradition in my hometown in China.  Most vegetables thrive in summer but hard to find in other seasons, so that our ancestors developed such a way to preserve excessive vegetables for later use.  Actually similar vegetable pickling techniques have been used in many places all over the world, with minor differences in the process and ingredients. 

Most southern Chinese families keep one or more pickling jars in the kitchen.  These pickling jars are different from all we can see on grocery markets in the States.  There are deep V shape edges on the top of the jars where water would be added to keep the whole jar aid-tight. 

I have been looked over everywhere to such a pickling jar in America but came up with none.  So I brought back one from a trip back to China a couple years ago. 

Pickling ingredients and methods vary from area to area too.  I mostly do Sichuan style pickling which involves lots of peppers, Sichuan peppercorns and other Asian spices.   

Pickled young ginger roots are one of my favorites.  But the thing is, it is extremely hard to find fresh young ginger roots on the market.  I guess not that many people know how delicious they are. 

I was so happy when I finally found some in an H-mart grocery store.

Rinse the young ginger roots under running water.  Pat them dry with kitchen paper towel or air dry with cool air in a food dehydrator.

Add to the pickling jar, and sprinkle some with a handful course sea salt.  The pickled vegetables should be ready in about a week. 

The pickling juice from the jar is the key to success.  The best way to start pickling is to buy a small jar of authentic Sichuan style pickles from the nearest Asian grocery store.  Use it as the starter.

Add cold boiled water, rice wine, sea salt, Sichuan peppercorns, cayenne peppers, garlic cloves, star anises, cloves, sugar and some other spices of your choice to the jar.  Seal the edge with water.  Wait for 3 to 4 days.  You should now have a jar of pickling juice to begin with.

 Add vegetables to the jar and they would be done in about one week.  The more you pickle vegetables, the richer and more delicate flavor the pickling juice would be.  

This time, I make pickled young ginger and long beans.  Both of them are popular pickles in southern China too.

They taste very crunchy, a bit tangy, savory and very flavorful depending on the spices used in the pickling process.  

Young ginger roots are more tender, crunchy, and a lot less spicy than the regular ginger roots.  Yum! O(∩_∩)O~

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Crunchy Soybeans

中文菜谱:

酥黄豆

Crunchy soybeans are far more than a snack to us.  They can also be used as a crunchy topping for Asian style noodle soups too, or as a topping to almost anything you like.  And be careful, these beans can be additive too O(∩_∩)O~

It is super simple and easy to make crunchy soybeans at home.  All you need is a little bit of time and patience, and of course, some soybeans!

Crunchy soybeans make perfect topping for Chinese noodles.

Ingredients:

1 cup of soybeans
water for soaking
1 1/2 to 2 cups oil
salt to taste

 

Directions:

Add soybeans to a bowl, along with water.  Let it sit overnight.

Soaked soybeans

Drain the soybeans.  Add to a thick sauce pan.  Add oil.  I use a 2 quarts cast iron wok which is perfect for frying small batch of meat and vegetables.

Cook over medium low heat. 

With a spoon, stir the beans from time to time to prevent uneven cooking.

A few minutes later, soybeans start to change colors.

They slowly darken the color. 

Reduce the heat to low.  DO NOT use high heat here.  Otherwise, you might end up with burnt or chewy soybeans instead of crunchy ones.

The beans have been deep-fried over low heat for almost 30 minutes.

Now the color is beautifully golden brown.

Drain the beans and let them cool down in a plate lined with kitchen paper towel.

Sprinkle with fine table salt.  Store in an air-tight mason jar up to 2 weeks after the beans are completely cooled. 

I posted how to make noodles at home before: Homemade Noodles in Thick Pork Broth  

Cook the noodles in boiling water for 45 seconds to one minute.  Add to a bowl, along with soy sauce, sesame oil, Sichuan peppercorn oil, chili oil sauce, spicy ground beef with dice tofu, finely shredded cucumber, chopped cilantro, green onion, and of course, crunchy soybeans.

Use pair of chopsticks to toss everything together.

Bon appetite! O(∩_∩)O~