Chinese long beans are grown for their tender long immature pods. There are many different varieties, with pod colors ranging from pale green to dark green, and seeds that are red or black. I grow the dark green variety with red seeds. This variety freezes well. There is also a red pod variety called red noodles (above photo).
Growing: A warm season crop that thrives in heat and humidity (but very sensitive to cold temperatures).
A vigorous climbing annual. Requires trellis or plant along a fence. My garden friend, Mary N, marysveggiegarden builds teepee trellises for her pole beans which will work for Chinese long beans also. For Mary’s step-by-step instructions click here.
Mary uses branches and saplings found on her property to build her teepees. You can also use bamboo and other materials.
Direct sow, ½ – 1 inch deep, 8 – 12 inches apart, in full sun, well drained light warm soil that is rich in organic matter, pH 5.5 – 6.8, or start indoors for transplanting when conditions are right.
I start my seeds indoor beginning of May and transplant to the garden end of May. I not only get a head start, I also get better result because the soil is warm, and the plants do not suffer set back. I plant my seedlings along a fence. If you are using a teepee, plant seeds or seedlings around each post. Keep in mind your planting dates will be different than mine, check with your local cooperative extension or garden nursery for the appropriate planting dates for your specific location.
Harvesting: Pick tender pods at 12 – 18 inches lengths and before the seeds swell. Pick frequently (the more you pick the more the plant produces), I allow a few pods to mature and turn brown. Harvest the browned pods. After drying, shell and save the seeds for the following year’s planting.
Right photo: The pods grow in pairs on long slender stem. Notice how the seeds in the pods on the right are swollen. Still edible but the pods on the left are more tender and better tasting.
∞ Use as a substitute for green beans.
∞ Stir-fry, alone or combined with other veggies and/or meat.
∞ Leave them whole, toss with oil, salt and pepper to taste. Grill or roast in the oven.
Stir-fry Chinese Long Beans
½ pound Chinese long beans, cut into desired lengths (I usually do 2 – 3 inches)
1 – 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 – 2 teaspoon minced onion (or scallion, I had shallots in my garden so that’s what I used)
1 tablespoon ginger wine or pale dry sherry
1 – 2 tablespoons soy sauce, regular (light color) or gluten free
¼ teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
pinch of sugar (optional) (I decided, last minute, to use ½ teaspoon maple syrup, liked it a lot)
1 – 2 tablespoons oil
1. Add oil to preheated wok or frying pan. Add garlic and onion. Stir-fry until onion is translucent.
2. Add beans. Stir fry until beans (the green ones) change color. Add wine, Stir fry until wine is absorbed.
3. Add soy sauce, salt and sugar, if using, stir fry until liquids are absorbed. Add 2 – 3 tablespoons water or broth. Cover and simmer for about 5 minutes (I like my beans crunchy), longer if you like a softer texture (you may need a bit more liquid), uncover and allow liquid to evaporate, beans will appear dry and wrinkled, with a chewy crunchy texture that I like. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Stir-fry Chinese Long Beans with Fermented Black Beans
Add: ½ – 1 tablespoon fermented black beans, rinsed (See NOTE) at the same time as the garlic. Continue with, steps 2 and 3, recipe above.
Stir-fry Chinese Long Beans with Pork & Fermented Black Beans
Add: 2 – 8 ounces coarse ground pork or other ground meat same time as the garlic and fermented black beans. Stir fry until pork changes color. Continue with, steps 2 and 3, recipe above.
Add: same time as the garlic, ¼ teaspoon Asian chili sauce or fresh chili (optional)
Add: additional liquid for gravy (optional) during step 3.
NOTE: Fermented black beans also known as salted black beans or preserved beans are made from soy beans. They are dry to the touch and have a soft texture. Quite salty and taste like dried cured olives. Available at Asian market, specialty food markets and the international section of some supermarkets.
Substitute: 1 – 2 tablespoons black bean garlic sauce for the fermented black bean and garlic.
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