If you've ever seen them, you'll know exactly what I mean. They're kind of like your regular garden variety green bean, but really long; they're also called long beans and asparagus beans. Common in Asian cooking. Yard long green beans are thinner, milder, and more delicate than regular green beans, so do not store as well. They do not have the grassy taste that other green beans can have.

In Thai cooking, the Asian cuisine I know best, they are often served raw, for example in som tam (green papaya salad or papaya pok pok), but they can also be stir fried or steamed. When steamed, they are often tied into charming little knots to add a decorative flourish to a dish. They may then be used for dipping, or just eaten as is.

A very tasty dish is often prepared with yard long green beans and red curry paste.

Spicy Yard Long Green Beans

What you need:

  • 1 tblsp (15 ml) oil
  • 1 tblsp (15 ml) red curry paste (or more to taste, but be careful: it's hot)
  • 2 lime leaves
  • 2 tsp (10 ml) fish sauce
  • 1/2 lb (225 gr) pork, chicken, or firm tofu, cut into bite-sized pieces, or shrimp (which cook less time and so are added later).
  • 2 cups (480 ml) yard-long green beans, cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) lengths

What to do:

Heat the oil in a pot or wok and sauté the curry paste and lime leaves for about a minute.

Add the fish sauce and pork/chicken/tofu (not shrimp) and toss for a minute or two, till meat begins to lose its colour.

Add the beans and a little water, cover, and cook for about 5 minutes, till the beans are soft, stirring occasionally: keep a close eye on the pot so it doesn't dry out and burn, and add more water if necessary. If you're using shrimp, add it for the last minute of cooking.

Serve immediately with jasmine rice. Very tasty.

Oh venerable sneff, keeper of culinary knowledge extraordinaire! He informs me that yard long green beans are also called snake beans and that black eyed peas come from the same plant, Vigna unguiculata.

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