Chinese Long Beans are a long, thin Asian subtropical/tropical bean also known as yardlong beans, asparagus beans, garter beans or snake beans. The peak season for the Chinese long bean is May through October but they are available all year round, especially in Asian grocery markets.
Chinese long beans come in large bunches, secured with a rubber band and it seems like you are going to have too many beans on hand - however, my family of 4 devoured almost the whole bunch along with dinner - they were so addicting! They are a good source of protein, vitamin C, iron and potassium along with other daily nutritional benefits to add to your daily diet.
Chinese Long beans have a delicious, mild asparagus-like flavor and can grow in length from 12 to 20 inches. This bean can be prepared and cooked like our everyday common green (string) bean by sautéing, blanching/boiling and adding to stir frys, soups and stews. The texture of the Chinese long bean is softer and more flexible than the western green bean but is just as versatile in recipes and a plus factor I love is that they have no strings - so preparation is hassle-free!
Prepare the beans as you would regular green beans by rinsing them thoroughly in cold water and then cutting off the ends (top and tail) and slicing the beans into the length you desire for your recipe. Below is a very quick, easy and delicious Asian recipe using only 4 ingredients. I served this alongside side chicken curry and rice one evening and it made a really nice addition to the dish.
1 bunch of Chinese long beans
Salted boiling water for blanching
3 tbsp. bacon fat or olive oil
1/3 cup Kikkoman Chili Ponzu sauce with citrus
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1. Rinse the beans in cold water and then snip off the ends. Cut the beans into 3 inch pieces. Carefully drop the beans into the hot boiling water and blanch for 2 minutes only. Drain in a colander.
2. In a large skillet, heat the bacon fat or olive oil over a medium high heat and then add the Ponzu sauce and red pepper flakes. Cook the sauce for 1 minute and then add the beans and toss well cooking just to heat the beans through and coat with the sauce. Voila! Done.