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Long beans: Culinary wish for a long life

Long beans, which go by a host of names, can be found in well-stocked grocers and most Asian markets. (Associated Press)
Long beans, which go by a host of names, can be found in well-stocked grocers and most Asian markets. (Associated Press)

Eating long beans to symbolize a long life is a hallmark of Chinese New Year.

These beans can be found in well-stocked grocers and most Asian markets. They often go by other names, including asparagus beans, yard-long beans and snake beans. But whatever you call them, they basically look like really long green beans.

Since this new year is the year of the dragon, more specifically the water dragon, we decided to serve our longevity dish with the dragon of the sea – lobster. If lobster isn’t available (or in the budget), shrimp is another good choice. Buy the smallest, sweetest shrimp you can find.

Dragon Beans

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/4 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, crushed

1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 pounds Chinese long beans

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup oyster sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

Splash of Sriracha sauce

7 ounces cooked lobster meat, chopped

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

In a wok or large, deep skillet over medium-high, heat the vegetable oil. Add the peppercorns, five-spice powder and garlic. Heat, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.

Add the beans and toss to coat. Add the water, oyster sauce and soy sauce and cover. Allow the beans to steam for 5 minutes, or until just tender. Add the sesame oil, Sriracha, lobster meat and sesame seeds. Toss together and cook until just heated through. Serve immediately.

Approximate nutrition per serving: 430 calories, 5 grams fat (1 gram saturated, 13 percent fat calories), 26 grams protein, 55 grams carbohydrate, 20 milligrams cholesterol, 10 grams dietary fiber, 530 milligrams sodium.



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