sauteed green beans in chili and black bean sauce(干煸四季豆)

Fermented black beans, or dao si, are one of my favorite ingredients to find in my pantry, particularly when I’m trying to rethink a meat dish and turn it into a plant-based one.
In this case, I’ve given a traditional Northern Chinese dish, sauteed runner beans in black bean sauce (干煸四季豆), an upgrade by adding fermented black beans, which lifts the flavors of the whole dish.

It’s substantial enough to serve as a main course with rice.

I used runner beans in this recipe, but feel free to use what’s available in your area. Most green beans will work well in this recipe. For vegetarian/plant-based: Simply swap vegan minced meat for the minced pork, or use TVP or firm minced tofu. (If using tofu, break it into crumbs with a fork, making sure you first fry the tofu crumbs before mixing them into the dish. See instructions.)

Serves 2 as a main dish


250g runner beans, clean and trimmed, thinly sliced diagonally, about 1/3 cm thick

200g minced pork (preferably 50% fatty and 50% lean meat) or vegan meat of your choice

2 tbsp dao si, roughly chopped

1 clove garlic, thinly sliced

½ mild, long red chili, thinly sliced

1 small red shallot, peeled and thinly sliced

2 thick slices of ginger

Splash of Shaoxing wine (just under ¼ cup)

Vegetable oil for frying

Marinade for meat

2 tsp dark soy sauce

2 tsp light soy sauce

1 tbsp Shaoxing wine

1 tsp corn starch

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

½ tsp caster sugar

A few shakes of ground white pepper


2 tsp corn starch

2 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp dark soy sauce

1 tsp caster sugar

A few shakes of ground white pepper

2 tbsp Shaoxing wine

½ cup water


Toasted ground Sichuan pepper

Recipe Preparation

Marinate minced meat in a small bowl; mix well to combine and set aside.

*Meat should be brough back to room temperature prior to cooking.

For crumbled firm tofu, heat a tablespoon of oil in a medium frying pan and fry tofu crumbs, sprinkling with 1 teaspoon of fine sea salt. Cook until tofu crumbs are slightly crisp and golden. Set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok or large shallow frying pan on medium-high. Sauté garlic, shallot, ginger and dao si until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. (Be careful to not burn the garlic slices, or they will be bitter. Reduce heat if the vegetables are browning too quickly.) Add a splash of Shaoxing wine and bring up the heat to medium-high (if you have reduced heat earlier) and cook until wine is mostly evaporated.

Add marinated meat and use spatula to break up the minced chunks. Cook until no longer pink. Add beans and stir frequently so that the seasoning and beans are coated with minced meat, 3-4 minutes. Meanwhile, put slurry ingredients together in a small bowl, turn up the heat to high, and add slurry, tossing frequently until slurry becomes thick and glossy. Remove from heat and garnish with toasted ground Sichuan pepper. Serve warm with steamed rice.

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