The Tender Bean

Deane is director of The Times Test Kitchen

Chinese long beans, also known as yard-long beans, can be found in Asian markets and some supermarkets. These members of the black-eyed pea family taste much like green beans but are not quite as sweet. Although they can indeed grow up to a yard long, select the smaller, younger pods for this salad; they will be much more tender.


1/2 pound Chinese long beans

1/2 cup rice vinegar

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 (1/8-inch) slices ginger root, cut into thin slivers

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 small serrano chile, seeded and minced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 bunches watercress, tough stems removed

1 cup bean sprouts

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

Trim ends from beans and cut into 2-inch pieces. Cook in steamer over boiling water until tender yet crisp, about 10 minutes. Immediately plunge into bowl of ice water. Drain.

Combine vinegar, sugar, salt, ginger, sesame oil, chile and garlic. Pour over beans and let marinate 30 minutes.

Divide watercress among 4 plates. Top watercress with 1/4 cup bean sprouts. Remove beans from marinade with slotted spoon and place on top of sprouts on each plate. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve remaining marinade on side or drizzle over salad if desired.

4 servings. Each serving:

107 calories; 324 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 2 grams fat; 22 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams protein; 1.25 grams fiber.

* Placemat and bowl from Sur La Table, Pasadena.

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