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Garden journal entry


August 14, 2012. This is the second year I've grown Chinese yard-long beans (Vigna unguiculata). The first time around, several years ago, I marveled at the long, deep burgundy pods, and admired the vines as they grew into a teepee in our vegetable garden – but I never got around to eating those beans, partly because I wasn't sure how to make them taste good. I was determined to do better this year, so when the beans started getting to harvest size, I looked up some recipe ideas online, and armed with a few ideas concocted a side dish of cut yard-long beans. Quite simple really: beans cut into pieces of two-three inches long, stir-fried in some vegetable oil with a good bit of minced onion, some garlic, some ground fresh ginger, and soy sauce – and a hot aji chili or two fried along for a few minutes, then discarded.They came out quite tasty – both the ones I harvested with relatively filled-out pods, as the younger pods with barely developed beans had good flavor and texture. Interestingly, the beans stayed purple. I'm used to scarlet runner beans turning green as they are cooked, and the online references I found for yard-long beans suggested that they too would lose their striking color – but at least in this treatment (frying, not boiling), the purple remained. The dish was easy to prepare, so I think we'll be enjoying its flavor a few more times this season: there are plenty more beans on the way.

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Last modified: September 09, 2009
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