Meera Sodhas vegan recipe for dry fried beans with chopped tofu | Vegan food and drink
W.hen I got my first blistered and wrinkled dry-fried Sichuanese beans, I ate them like McDonald’s fries. They were salty, soft and crispy, all of which are synonyms for addicting in my book. Traditionally, the beans were dry roasted, but these days at least in most restaurants they are fried and served with pork. In my version, I’ve fried them hot and hard in some oil and served them on a soft tofu mound flavored with some of the best ingredients from the Sichuanese pantry.
Dry fried beans with chopped tofu
You’ll need a wide pan with a lid, a food processor, and a pestle and mortar (or something heavy to break up the peppercorns).
preparation 15 minutes
cook 40 minutes
1 teaspoon of Sichuan peppercorns
280g tofu, pressed – I like tofoo
250g shiitake mushrooms
4 tbsp rapeseed oil
400g green beans, trimmed
2cm ginger, peeled and grated
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
4 spring onions, cleaned and finely chopped
4 red chillies (Optional)
3 tbsp Shaoxing wine
3 tbsp light soy sauce
Boiled or steamed jasmine rice, serve
First, roughly beat the peppercorns into a coarse powder and set aside. Chop the tofu and mushrooms in a food processor until they break up into lentil-sized pieces.
Heat the oil in a wide pan over high heat and, once hot, carefully add the beans. Keep them in a single layer as much as possible so each one touches the bottom of the pan – you can find this easier to do in two batches. Cook for three minutes, then turn with tongs or two wooden spoons. The beans and oil might spit: if they do, hold a lid over them.
Cook the beans for another six minutes, then turn them again after three minutes until they look withered and blackened. Turn off the heat, ladle the beans onto a plate, and leave the oil in the pan.
Return the pan to the heat and add a tablespoon more oil if needed. Add the tofu and mushroom mixture to the hot oil and cook, stirring frequently, for up to 10 minutes, or until it is reduced and crispy and browned. Add ginger, garlic, spring onions, chillies and mashed Sichuan peppercorns, stir and cook for another three minutes.
Return the beans to the pan with the Shaoxing wine and soy, stir for a few minutes, then transfer them to a serving plate. Serve immediately with jasmine rice.