Sauteed Chinese Long Beans are delicious to eat and easy-to-cook. Chinese Long Beans (also know as Yard Long Beans, Asparagus Beans, Garter Beans, and Snake Beans) – A long, thin Asian bean that can measure from 1 to 3 feet in length. These beans are a subtropical/tropical plant that is widely grown in Southeastern Asia, Thailand, and Southern China, and are a cousin to the cowpea or black-eye pea.
These beans are best eaten when they measure from 12 to 20 inches long. It is a bean with a mild taste, similar to a Western string bean. Unlike the shorter string bean, this bean has a soft texture that is flexible and not as crisp or moist as the Western variety.
Cooking with Chinese Long Beans: These beans are cooked as you would green beans. They have a mild asparagus-like flavor and are delicious sauteed or steamed. You can use them as you do any green bean in your cooking. If you are picking them from your garden, as I do, look for beans that have started to swell in the pods.
This recipe, and photos were shared with me by Karen Calanchini, Food Stylist and Photographer, of Redding, CA.
Rinse and towel dry the beans.
Cut off the stem ends and cut the Chinese Long Beans into thirds.
In a saute pan or large frying pan over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil. Add the prepared Chinese Long Beans and saute until they turn a bright green. Add garlic and thyme, then saute until fragrant, stirring often.
Add chicken stock, place a lid on the pan, and cook just until beans are cooked to your liking. Add salt, pepper, and lemon juice (or optional sauce); toss and serve.
Makes 2 servings.
* An optional sauce for the beans, use 1/4 cup Tomato Raisin Fusion Salsa.
Chinese Long Beans grow from the dried bean to beautiful vines. The flowers are white and blue and form beautiful, long beans, usually with two or more beans attached to the same stem. They must have something to climb on, so the beans can grow long and straight.
As these beans are a subtropical/tropical plant, they may not grow in your area. They grow only moderately in cool northern climes. Chinese Long Beans are very prolific and can be picked when you beans start to swell in the pod. They grow very fast and you need to check them everyday.
Drying Chinese Long Beans:
If you have been growing these beans, before the season ends, allow a few of the bean pods to mature on the vine, and save some of the beans for future planting. Tie a bunch together at the stem end and hang to dry in a cool, dry place. It takes just a few days for the pods and beans to dry.
Once dry, snap them in half, place in a bucket, and store (Karen stores them in her garage.) Be sure to label them so you won’t forget what they are when Spring comes.
Come Spring (after the frost date in your area and the soil has warmed to 65 degrees F.), plant the seeds in your garden where they will have enough space to spread out and can climb up onto a trellis. We have a pvc pipe framework over our raised vegetable beds to adhere shade cloth during the hot summer months. Since I live in northern California, this is necessary. We strung sturdy rope between the framework of the pvc pipes. The beans really took of on that rope and found the PVC pipe, which they wrapped themselves around.
Freezing Chinese Long Beans:
These beans freeze well and are great eating all winter long.
Simply wash them off and let dry. After they are dry, cut off the stem ends, cut beans in half, and then blanch in boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and freeze.
NOTE: I use a Food Saver Vacuum sealer which prevents any frost burn.