Chinese Long Beans with Cracked Pepper

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
1 pound Chinese long beans or green beans, cut into 3-inch lengths
1/2 red bell pepper, peeled with a vegetable peeler and cut into 1/3-inch dice
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, until lightly browned. Add the long beans and red pepper and stir-fry until the beans are slightly softened and browned in spots, 5 minutes. Stir in the sugar. Add the water, cover and cook over moderately low heat until it has evaporated and the beans are tender, 5 minutes. Add the soy sauce and pepper and cook for 1 minute. Transfer to a platter and serve.

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