Friday, July 8, 2011

Stir-fried fresh “eyebrow beans” with bacon

Two days ago I bought some attractive “flat beans” at the wet market in Mongkok.  They look like the haricot mange-tout we have in France which is flat and broad with tiny peas inside. One kind is light green and quite plump while the second is flat and has light purple edges.  

The seller told me that they were called meìh-dáu in Cantonese (meaning eyebrow bean - 眉豆). My Mandarin teacher calls them “knife bean” due to their shape (刀豆 dao1dou4) or 豇豆 (jiang1dou4). According to the Chinese/English dictionary the latter name means cowpeas or black-eyed beans. I am familiar with the black-eyed beans which are dried and used in Chinese soups [see photo below]. However, are the tiny peas in the fresh pods of the same kind or do the two species share the same name?

How did I cook my 'eyebrow beans'?
I braised the first batch (the purple ones) and stir-fried the second (greener ones). I was more satisfied with the stir-frying method. Here is my recipe:

  1. Remove any strings and bad places from beans and wash them clean.
  2. In a large saucepan, bring water to the boil. Add beans and parboil.
  3. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a colander and drain.
  4. In a pan cook 100gr bacon (diced) over medium heat until crispy and has rendered all fat. Remove from pan.
  5. Cook in same pan 1 thinly sliced shallot and 1 thinly sliced garlic clove until translucent. 
  6. Transfer beans and bacon in pan. Stir well with garlic and shallots mix.
  7. Cook for a few minutes stirring continuously.
  8. Serve hot.
This method helps better retain the green colour of the vegetable and better pleases both sight and taste than if braised {beans cooked slowly with bacon, garlic and shallots with the lid on}.

Stir-fried 'eyebrow beans'

Braised 'eyebrow beans'

If you have time let me know which method you prefer or do you use? Thanks for reading my post!

1 comment:

  1. The picture of 'eyebrow bean' looks very similar to what my Chinese friend grows in the back of her house. I will try for a picture of them.