Dry-fried French beans with minced pork by Andrew Wong
The secret to this dish is to ensure that you don’t overcook the beans when deep-frying before adding them to the wok. When we first opened the restaurant, we were getting through boxes and boxes of beans every day, purely because the chefs would repeatedly miss the critical stage at which the skin of the beans just begins to shrivel and therefore they would keep ending up in the bin. The chef Corey Lee explains in a book I bought recently that many of our fellow professionals live pursuing standards that exist only in their heads and devote their lives to fine points that few people notice – in my case, the exact moment when the beans need to be lifted out of the fryer!
vegetable oil for deep-frying, plus a drizzle
French beans 300g
minced pork 100g
fermented chilli bean paste 1 tsp
Shaoxing rice wine 1 tbsp
preserved vegetables 15g, available online
salt a pinch
sesame oil a drizzle
ground toasted Sichuan peppercorns 1g, or more if you like the mouth-numbing sensation
Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer to 190C. Meanwhile, top and tail the beans. Deep-fry the beans until they are 80% cooked – when the surface of the beans just starts to wrinkle. Remove them from the oil and drain on kitchen paper.
Add a drizzle of vegetable oil to a hot wok and stir-fry the minced pork until brown and dry, then stir in the chilli bean paste.
Add the wine and then the beans and mix through before adding the preserved vegetables and salt.
Finish with a drizzle of sesame oil and the ground Sichuan pepper before serving immediately.