I was perusing through the farmers' market recently and had to do a double take. At the table where I usually buy my Chinese Long Beans (aka Yardlong Beans) there was something amiss. I inched closer to get a good look and next to the green Chinese Long Beans were a few bundles of beans…similar in length and texture but a vivid purple in color. Curious, I asked the young girl behind the table, “Are these beans supposed to be purple? Is there a difference in flavor?” She confessed that she had never eaten them before and was just helping out at the table for the day. So I figured for $1 a bundle, I’d give these Barney looking beans a shot.
For those of you unfamiliar with Chinese Long Beans, they are much longer (on average 12"-30" in length), wrinklier and a bit chewier then your run-of-the-mill green beans. As for the purple beans, you can prepare them the same way you would the green Chinese Long Beans. My favorite method is to stir fry them.
Just in case you were curious as to how the beans look in comparison I found a pic online with the two varieties of beans side by side.
Stir-fried Chinese Long Beans
1 lb. Chinese long beans, trimmed and cut on the diagonal into 3 inch lengths
1 T oyster sauce
2 t minced fresh garlic
1 t soy sauce
¼ cup water or low sodium vegetable broth
- Heat 1 T of canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add minced garlic. Cook, stirring until garlic starts to change color (about 1 minute)
- Add the long beans. Saute for about 30-45 seconds until they soften.
- Add water or broth, soy sauce and oyster sauce.
- Cover and cook until beans are tender (but not mushy).
- Remove the lid. Cook, allowing excess liquid to evaporate.
- Add salt if so desired.