Green Bean Poriyal (with variations)

Oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves – a few, roughly torn
Shallots – 2 tbsp, chopped (can also use red onions)
Whole dried red chilies – 3-4
Green beans – 1 lb, washed and diced into 1/4? pieces (very short!)
Shredded coconut – 1/4 cup
Salt – to taste

Heat oil in a deep skillet or pan. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves. When they start to sizzle and crackle, add the onions and red chilies. Saute till onions are lightly golden.

Then add the chopped green beans and stir fry for a minute or so. Sprinkle some water and salt, reduce heat to low, cook and cover till beans are just cooked.

Open the lid, fold in the shredded or grated coconut and saute for a few more seconds to make sure there is no residual water in the pan.

Remove from heat and serve hot along with rice and sambar or dal.

Notes:

You can add 1/2 tbsp of urad dal (or dehusked black lentils) along with the mustard seeds and fry them till they just begin to change color. You can also add a pinch of turmeric and coriander powders along with the salt, but we actually prefer to have thoran without it.

You can cook vegetables like carrots, beetroot, cabbage, long beans and gourds the same way. You can also try combinations like carrots-beans, cabbage-carrots-beans or asparagus-green peas. Try it for yourself and see!

Vegetable Poriyal

4 cups water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 cup diced carrots
4 ounces green beans, trimmed and diced
1/4 cup coconut oil (may substitute canola or vegetable oil)
2 teaspoons urad dal (black matpe beans)
2 teaspoons chana dal (split chickpeas)
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seed
1 cup chopped red onion or shallots
1/4 teaspoon hing (asafetida)
20 fresh/frozen curry leaves
1 tablespoon peeled fresh ginger root, finely chopped
5 green small, whole Thai chili peppers (may substitute serrano chile peppers)
1 cup grated fresh/frozen coconut (do not use dried or sweetened coconut)

Fill a large bowl with water and ice.

Bring the 4 cups of water to a boil in a deep pot over high heat. Add a tablespoon of the salt, 1/2 teaspoon of the ground turmeric and the carrots; once the water returns to a boil, add the green beans. Cook for 7 or 8 minutes, until just crisp-tender.

Drain through a fine-mesh strainer; leave the vegetables in the strainer and immediately place it in the bowl of ice water.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is liquefied, add the urad dal and chana dal; cook, stirring a few times, until they begin to brown. Stir in the mustard seed and the red onion or shallots; cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.

Stir in the hing, curry leaves, ginger and Thai chili peppers, then the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of ground turmeric, the remaining teaspoon of salt and the coconut; toss to make sure the coconut is evenly distributed.

Drain the cooked vegetable mixture (in the strainer) and add it to the skillet. Cook, stirring to incorporate and heat through, for 3 or 4 minutes. Serve right away.

VARIATION: To make this recipe with potatoes, boil and skin potatoes before adding, omit the coconut and consider using cilantro, which can be substituted for the curry leaves. For broccoli, omit the onion and add toasted cashews to the mix.

Source: Adapted from Vikram Sunderam, executive chef at Rasika in the District.

Gojju

This gojju uses eggplant and green peppers, but you can make many gojju variations: green onion, okra, bitter gourd, tomato and even pineapple! Also you can make this dish to suit your preference as far as how soupy you want it.

For cooking vegetable
2 tablespoons oil
pinch of hing or asafetida
1 teaspoon black mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 dried red chili pepper
3-4 fresh curry leaves
1 1/2 cups Japanese eggplant, cut into 1 1/2 inch long and 1/2 inch thick wedges
1 cup green pepper, rough chop
1 cup onion, rough chop

For grinding
3-4 dried red chili peppers
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
2 tablespoons roasted chana dal
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
few sprigs cilantro
1/2 cup fresh grated coconut (can use thawed out frozen)
1/2 cup or more water

1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate
2 teaspoons teaspoon jaggery or sugar
salt to taste

Put oil in pan under medium-high heat. When hot, put hing and mustard seeds in. When mustard seeds start to pop, put in fenugreek and let it turn golden brown. Turn the heat to low-medium and put in the red chili and curry leaves and coat with oil. Cook for a few seconds and throw in the onion. After the onion has softened a little, put in the green pepper, eggplant and salt to taste. I add a bit of water too so that the vegetables stay moist. Cover.

While the veggies are cooking put the dried red chili peppers, black mustard seeds, roasted chana dal and turmeric into the blender and grind. Next add in coconut, cilantro and water and grind. If it is looking a bit dry, you can add some water to make it more paste-like.

When the vegetables are almost done cooking, mix in the grinded paste and bring to a boil. At this time you can add some water too if you want to have a more soupy texture. Add in the tamarind paste and the jaggery and mix well. Continue to boil for a few minutes and then simmer. Add salt to taste. Turn the heat off and it will thicken a bit.

I like to eat this with roti and recently have been rolling it into a whole wheat tortill with rice.

Green Bean Palya

1 tablespoon oil or ghee
3/4 pound green beans – cut into about 1/2 inch long pieces
pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon urad dal
1/2 teaspoon chana dal
3 fresh curry leaves (can use dry)
1 dried red chili – broken into pieces
1/2 teaspoon sambar powder
2 tablespoons frozen fresh grated coconut – thawed out
juice of half a lemon
salt to taste

Heat oil under a medium flame. Put in a pinch of hing or asafoetida, mustard seed, urad dal and chana dal.

When the mustard seed starts popping and the dals start browning, put in the curry leaf and broken up chili pieces. Mix everything around for 10 seconds until everything is coated with oil.

Next throw in the green beans.

Mix it all up.

Add a little bit of water, turn the heat to low, cover and cook until the beans are almost tender. Mix in sambar powder and cook until the beans are tender. Add the coconut and cook for a few minutes. Turn the heat off and add in the lemon and salt and mix well.

Green Yogurt Curry (Majjige Huli)

1 1/2 pounds summer squash (yellow or green zucchini), cut 1/2 inch thick rounds with large pieces cut again in half
3 cups yogurt (or combo yogurt and buttermilk)
small bunch cilantro leaves
1/2 cup frozen fresh grated coconut, thawed
2 tablespoons chana dal
2-3 green chilis
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
salt to taste

for tempering
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
pinch of hing / asafetida
1 dried red chili
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
4 fresh curry leaves

In a pan, fit a steamer with water below, but just at a level that is below the steamer and not touching it. Place cut summer squash in the steamer basket. Turn the heat to medium/high and when the water starts to boil, turn to medium and cover. Steam for about 15 minutes or until tender. Immediately immerse the squash in a bowl of cold water to avoid overcooking.

In a blender, put in the chana dal and grind until powder. Have about a 1 cup of water by the blender. Add in coconut, green chilies, cilantro, cumin seed, black mustard seeds, turmeric powder and slowly add water as needed so that you can a well ground paste. You want this to be as smooth as possible but by adding in enough water. For this recipe, I added in about 3/4 cup water. When you have a nice paste, add in your yogurt and/or buttermilk. Blend this well.

In a pan place the steamed summer squash, the yogurt curry and salt to taste. Put the heat on medium. You want the mixture to boil once. At this time, turn the heat off.

In a small saucepan, heat the oil under medium heat and add in the hing, black mustard seeds and cumin seeds. When the mustard seeds start to pop and the cumin seeds start to brown, turn the heat to low and add in your curry leaves and dried red chili, broken in half. Coat everything with oil and pour this oil mixture on top of the yogurt curry.

Serve majjige huli with hot rice. You can also chill it if you like, but traditionally at home, we would eat it after it was just prepared.

*When eating curry the next day, do not heat it.

Paneer-Stuffed Mini Peppers with Green Pea Chutney

Paneer Stir-Fry
4 oz. paneer cheese, crumbled or cubed small
1 tablespoon oil
1 small shallot, minced
1 inch ginger piece, peeled and grated
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Indian green chills (can sub in Serranos or jalapeño)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/3 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon garam masala
salt to taste

Green Pea Chutney
1/3 cup blanched green peas or thawed out frozen peas
3 tablespoons yogurt
3 tablespoons cilantro leaves
squeeze of lemon
salt to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease a cookie sheet pan.

In a pan under medium-high heat, place 1 tablespoon of oil. When hot add in cumin seeds. When seeds start to brown after a few seconds, add in shallot. Turn the heat to medium and cook until translucent, a few minutes. Then add the garlic, green chili and ginger. Fry for 30 seconds, mixing about until fragrant. Add in the coriander powder, turmeric, garam masala and mix well. Fry for a few seconds. If pan is getting dry, can add in a few drops of water. Add in the paneer cheese and mix well. Sauté paneer for few minutes. Add salt to taste and turn off heat.

Layer the halved sweet mini peppers on a greased cookie sheet pan. With a teaspoon, fill the pepper halves with paneer stir-fry. Place in the oven to bake for 15 minutes, until peppers are soft and drying out a little on top.

Meanwhile, in a food processor or blender, add in the peas, cilantro and yogurt. Puree and transfer to a bowl. Add squeeze of lemon and salt to taste.

Line a plate with the baked peppers and drizzle the green peas chutney on top. Serve immediately.

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Tamarind Dressing

2 large heirloom tomatoes
2 cups cherry tomatoes
4 thai chili peppers, red and yellow color
2 tablespoons whole cilantro leaves, fresh
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper powder, freshly ground + extra if needed
2 teaspoons tamarind concentrate
1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
3 teaspoons dark brown sugar or jaggery crushed
1/4 teaspoon toasted coriander powder, freshly ground (see notes above)
100mL cup water
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Maldon sea salt flakes

Thinly slice the heirloom tomatoes and arrange them on a serving platter. Add the cherry tomatoes over them.
Slice the chili peppers lengthwise in half and arrange them over the tomatoes. Sprinkle the cilantro leaves over the tomatoes.

Take a 500mL mason jar or glass jar with a lid. Add all the ingredients from the tamarind to the olive oil. Close the jar tight with its lid and then shake vigorously until it forms an emulsion. Taste the dressing and adjust seasoning if necessary with salt and pepper.
Drizzle enough dressing over the salad and sprinkle with the Maldon sea salt flakes and/or pepper if needed. Serve immediately.

Cherry Almond Dutch Baby

3 large egg
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (more or less to taste)
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups pitted sweet cherries
1/2 cup sliced almonds, well-toasted
Powdered sugar
Lemon wedges

Heat oven to 425°F.

Whisk egg, sugar, flour, milk, extract and salt together until the batter is blended but lumpy; you can also do this in a blender.

In a 12-inch ovenproof frying pan, melt butter.

Add cherries and cook until warmed, about 2 minutes.

Pour in batter and transfer to heated oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and rumpled-looking. (Err on the side of more cooking time with these pancakes, because the longer, within a range, they cook, the more rumpled and golden they get.)

Remove pancake from oven and quickly scatter with toasted almonds, dust with powdered sugar and squeeze lemon juice over. Serve in wedges, piping hot.

Chinese Banged Cucumber Salad

4 cucumbers (japanese or english type)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 clove garlic, smashed (optional)
1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce 1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp sesame oil

Wash your cucumber thoroughly. Cut off the tips on each side. Holding one end, carefully bang on cucumber with the flat of your cleaver until the cucumber splits and flattens out. It will be a little mushed up which is what you want. Once the whole cucumber is flattened, chop into bit sized piece. (We like to chop at a diagonal.) Do the same to each cucumber.

Add 1/2 tsp salt, mix and place into colander. Let cucumber drip juices out for 15-20 mins in the fridge. Squeeze cucumber lightly to remove most of the juice.

Mix together the chopped cucumber, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and sesame oil. Taste. It should be equal parts salty, sour and sweet. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Let marinate in refrigerator for at least 1/2 hour, stirring once or twice, before serving. The longer the marination, the tastier.

Green Beans and Bean Threads

1 lb green beans trimmed both ends and remove tough fibers, cut into 2-inch sections
2 oz minced lean pork or any meat you like I used left over sausages
2 bundles of bean thread noodles/vermicelli noodles soak in cold water to let it soften and then cut into shorter pieces
1 Tbsp chopped spring onion
3 Tbsp of canola oil

MARINADE:
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
Salt to season
1 cup water
Dash of sesame oil

Blanch the green beans in boiling water for about 2-3 minutes and quickly submerge into ice water bath. Drain and set aside.

Heat 3 Tbsp of canola oil and stir fry the minced pork and use the spatula to break up the meat, toss in chopped spring onion, add dark soy sauce, salt and water. Lastly add the green beans and cook for about 3 minutes.

Add the vermicelli and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes. Turn up the heat to reduce the gravy if you prefer. Lastly drizzle with some sesame oil.

Note on soaking vermicelli: If you want the vermicelli to further soak up the flavors and sauce of the dish you are cooking it in, soak it in cold water. If you are not cooking it in a sauce, soak it in warm water instead to allow it to swell more before cooking.

Spinach (or Arugula) Salad with Nectarines

4 cups fresh arugula or baby spinach
4 cups torn Bibb or Boston lettuce
3 medium nectarines, sliced
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese

DRESSING:
2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
Dash pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil

In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in oil until blended. Drizzle over salad; toss to coat.

To toast nuts, bake in a shallow pan in a 350° oven for 5-10 minutes or cook in a skillet over low heat until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.

Spinach Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes

2 cups cut-up heirloom tomatoes
1 cup multicolored cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup sliced red onion

DRESSING:
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon rubbed sage

Place tomatoes, spinach and onion in a large bowl. Whisk together dressing ingredients; toss with salad. Refrigerate, covered, 2 hours. Serve with a slotted spoon.

Spinach Salad with Raspberries and Walnuts

1 large egg white
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups walnut halves
1/2 cup sugar

DRESSING:
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard

SALAD:
8 ounces fresh baby spinach (about 10 cups)
1-1/2 cups fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 300°. In a small bowl, whisk egg white and vanilla until frothy. Stir in walnuts. Sprinkle with sugar; toss to coat evenly. Spread in a single layer in a greased 15x10x1-in. baking pan.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring every 10 minutes. Spread on waxed paper to cool completely.

In a small bowl, whisk dressing ingredients until blended. Place spinach in a large bowl. Drizzle with dressing; toss to coat. Sprinkle with raspberries and 1 cup candied walnuts (save remaining walnuts for another use).

Succotash with Mint and Goat Cheese

2 TABLESPOONS UNSALTED BUTTER
3 GREEN ONIONS, white and pale green parts and some of the dark green tops, thinly sliced
1 1/2 CUPS FRESH CORN KERNELS (2 medium ears)
1/2 POUND FLORIDA BUTTER BEANS, cooked and drained
SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND PEPPER
1/2 CUP HALVED CHERRY TOMATOES
2 TABLESPOONS CHOPPED FRESH MINT
1/4 POUND FRESH GOAT CHEESE

In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.

Add the green onions and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the corn and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the beans and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Remove from the heat, and toss in the tomatoes and mint.

Serve immediately, crumbling a little goat cheese over each portion.

Substitution Note: Try this recipe with Christmas lima beans or with fresh lima beans if you have them.

Pancetta, Corn, and Beans

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 ounces pancetta, cubed
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped fine
4 ears of corn, kernels removed
1 tablespoon Rancho Gordo Oregano Indio
2 cups cooked Rancho Gordo Cassoulet or Marcella beans
2 cups water (or half water and half bean broth)
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 2 to 3 tablespoons heavy cream
Minced fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro for garnish

In a soup pot, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the pancetta cubes and saute over medium-low heat until tender and chewy, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent them from burning.

Add the garlic and onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the corn, oregano, beans, and water, stirring to mix all of the ingredients. Raise the heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the corn is tender and the flavors have blended, about 20 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper. Right before serving, you can add some heavy cream if you like. Allow the soup to cook another 2 or 3 minutes to reheat if necessary. Serve in bowls, garnished with fresh herbs.

Bean and Vegetable Posole

1 cup dried Rancho Gordo White Posole (prepared hominy)
1 cup dried heirlooms beans such as Pinto, Eye of the Goat, Lila, or Moro
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ tsp. New Mexican Red Chile Powder
1½ tsp whole cumin seeds
3/4 tsp. Mexican Oregano
1 T. olive or vegetable oil
1 cup chopped tomatoes
3 small calabacitas (small squash) or zucchini, sliced ¼” thick
4 oz. fresh or frozen green beans
1 T. vegetable bouillon
2 T. chopped cilantro
Salt, to taste

Rinse and soak posole and beans, in separate bowls, for about 6 hours.

Drain posole and discard water. Add posole to a pot, fill pot with fresh water, and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until tender, about 2 hours. Drain.

Meanwhile, pour beans and their soaking liquid into another pot and add more water if needed to cover beans by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cook until tender, adding water as necessary (timing will vary depending on type of bean).

In 4 qt. pan, saute onion, garlic, chile powder, cumin seed and oregano in 1 T. oil for 7 minutes until onion is soft.

Add squash and tomatoes. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in cooked beans and cooking liquid, posole, green beans and bouillon. Simmer 30 minutes, adding water if stew is too thick.

Add cilantro and salt to taste.

Serve with warm tortillas.

Summer Posole

1 pound dried Rancho Gordo White Corn Posole (prepared hominy)
1 large white onion, finely diced?
3 cloves garlic, minced?
1 1/2 teaspoons Mexican Oregano?
6 large New Mexico green chiles (or poblanos)?
1 bunch scallion, finely chopped?
1 cup cilantro, finely chopped?
1 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted and ground?
1 pinch sea salt?
1/4 cup olive oil?
1 whole avocado, diced into chunks?
4 whole corn tortillas, slivered?
1 cup cabbage, thinly sliced?
1 lime, quartered

Put the posole in a large soup pot with onion, garlic, oregano and a gallon of water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until tender. This can take as long as 3 hours, so check pot occasionally and add water as it boils away. The posole will swell considerably, and the kernels will split open.

While the posole is cooking, roast the chiles, then place them in a bowl and cover with a plate to steam for 15 minutes. Slip off the skins, pull out the seeds and chop. Add the chopped chiles to the simmering posole along with 4 teaspoons salt. Continue cooking until the posole is completely tender. Taste for salt.

Preheat the oven to 350F. To make the salsa, combine the scallions, cilantro, chiles, cumin and salt in a bowl. Stir in the oil, add water as needed to thin, and add avocado. Toast the tortilla strips in the oven until crisp, or fry them in vegetable oil.

To serve, stir the salsa into the posole and garnish with a nest of cabbage and tortilla strips and a wedge of lime. Accompany with warm tortillas.

Spring Pea Pasta with Lemon and Shiso

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons plus ½ teaspoon minced garlic
12 ounces dried orecchiette or shell pasta (or two batches of this fresh orecchiette)
Salt and black pepper
2 cups frozen peas
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest plus 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
2-3 tablespoons Vermont Creamery mascarpone (Greek yogurt or Vermont Creamery crème fraîche work well, too)
2-3 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus extra for serving
1/4 cup finely sliced shiso leaves (or mint, if unavailable), plus more for garnish

Combine oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic in a small skillet or saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is pale golden brown, 9 to 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts of water to boil in a large pot. Add the orecchiette and 2 teaspoons salt and cook, stirring frequently, until al dente. (The pasta should still have quite a bit of bite; it will continue to cook in the sauce.)Reserve 1 cup of the starchy cooking water, then drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

Add the peas, lemon zest and juice, reserved garlic-oil mixture, and 3/4 cup of the pasta water to the pasta. Stir until pasta is well-coated with oil and no water remains in the bottom of the pot.

Add the mascarpone, Parmesan, and shiso leaves. Toss until the cheeses melt and evenly coat the pasta. If needed, loosen the pasta with the remaining 1/4 cup pasta water.

Season with more salt and plenty of black pepper to taste, then serve, with extra Parmesan on the side and more shiso, if desired. Enjoy!

Sichuan Dry Fried Green Beans

INGREDIENTS

Sauce

2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
Stir fry

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound (450 grams) green beans, tough ends removed
(Optional) 1/2 pound (220 grams) ground pork (*Footnote 1)
(Optional) 3 tablespoons Sichuan pickled mustard greens (Sui Mi Ya Cai) (*Footnote 2)
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 teaspoon whole Szechuan peppercorn
3 dried chili peppers (*Footnote 3)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger

Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside. Dry the green beans thoroughly before cooking to prevent oil splatter.

Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until hot. Add the green beans and stir to coat well with oil. Spread the beans to prevent them from overlapping, as much as possible. Flip every 15 seconds or so. Cook and stir until the surface is mostly brown and withered, 10 to 15 minutes. Turn to medium heat if the pan starts to smoke too much. Remove the pan from the stove. Transfer the green beans to a plate and set aside. (*Footnote 4)

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the Sichuan peppercorns to the pan. Cook over medium heat until the peppercorns turn dark. Scoop out and save for later. (*Footnote 5)

Add the ground pork, Sichuan pickled mustard greens, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook and chop the pork to separate it into small pieces. When the surface of the pork turns golden, add the dried chili pepper, garlic, and ginger. Stir a few seconds to release the fragrance. Add back the green beans and pour the sauce over them. Cook and stir until the sauce is mostly absorbed, about 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove the pan from the stove and taste a green bean. If it’s not salty enough, add a pinch more salt, return the pan to the stove, and stir to mix well. Transfer everything to a plate.
Serve hot on top of rice as a main, or as a side.

NOTES

The purpose of ground pork is to add flavor, although I did use a bit more pork in this recipe to make the dish substantial enough to serve as a main. You can replace it with ground chicken or ground beef, or skip it altogether for a side dish. If you choose to skip the ground meat, I highly recommend you add 2 more tablespoons of the Sichuan pickled mustard greens to enhance the flavor. If you do not have Sichuan pickled mustard greens, adding a bit of chicken bouillon, 2 tablespoons of fermented black beans, or 1 tablespoon of fermented chili bean paste (Doubanjiang) will work too.

Sichuan pickled mustard greens add savory and sweetness to the dish, making it extra rich. You can double the pickles and skip the salt to make the dish extra fragrant. If you do not have pickled mustard greens, 2 tablespoons of fermented black beans, or 1 tablespoon of fermented chili bean paste (Doubanjiang) will work great, too.

The dried chili peppers add a fragrance and smokiness to the dish but not much in terms of heat. If you want the dish to be a bit spicy, break apart the chili peppers before adding them.
Alternatively, you could use a pair of tongs to remove charred beans and transfer them to a plate. This way, the beans will be browned more evenly without overcooking.

For the cooked Sichuan peppercorns, drain the oil with kitchen paper towel and ground them to powder. You can use them on the cooked green beans to add a zing or add to other dishes such as noodles etc.

Thai Spicy Chicken and Holy Basil Fried Rice

1/2 lb. boneless chicken, cut into small bite-size pieces
6 cloves garlic, chopped
3-4 shallots, thinly sliced (or substitute with a small onion)
2-3 cups young Asian broccoli
2 jalapeno, serrano or fresno hot chilli peppers
4 cups cold cooked leftover rice
3-4 Tbs. peanut oil
2 tsp. black soy sauce – the semi-sweet kind (or substitute with regular soy plus sugar)
2 Tbs. fish sauce (nahm bplah), or to desired saltiness
1+ cups basil leaves and flowers
Liberal sprinkling of powdered white pepper
1 lime, cut into four wedges

Prepare the ingredients where instructed above. For the Asian broccoli, cut the stem ends at a very slanted angle into thin strips about 1 1/2 inches long and the leafy portion in segments about the same length. Keep the stemy pieces separate from the leafy pieces.

Slice the chilli peppers into half circles or short slivers; do not remove the seeds if you wish a spicier fried rice (skip if you don’t want your fried rice to be spicy).

Crumble and break up the cold leftover rice so that the grains are no longer stuck together in big chunks. (If you do not have leftover rice, cook rice earlier in the day and cool completely before frying. Freshly cooked rice makes mushy fried rice if used when it is still warm.) Set aside.

Heat a wok over high heat until hot. Swirl in the oil to coat its surface and wait a few seconds for the oil to heat.

Add the chopped garlic, followed a few seconds later with the chicken. Stir-fry half a minute, or until the chicken begins to lose its raw pink color.

Toss in the sliced shallots and chillies. Stir and follow 15 seconds later with the broccoli stems. Stir-fry another 20 seconds before adding the leaves. Toss until leaves are partially wilted, then add the rice and toss well with all the ingredients in the wok.

Continue to stir-fry until the rice is well coated with the oil and has softened and begun to brown. Sprinkle evenly with some black soy sauce, enough to lightly color the grains. Stir some more, then sprinkle with fish sauce to the desired saltiness. Stir-fry until the broccoli is cooked to your liking, preferably still crisp and a vibrant green color.

Toss in the basil and stir quickly for a few seconds to wilt and mix in with the rice. Sprinkle with white pepper. Stir well and transfer to serving plate(s).

Serve with a wedge of fresh lime for each serving. Squeeze the juice over the rice, as desired, before eating. Serves 2-3 as a one-dish meal.