Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Re: bean stir-fry

Dear Zo,

I am writing to update you on a successful adaptation of your recipe, the bean-noodle stir-fry. A few weeks ago, or whichever week you posted that, I actually attempted three different variations.

attempt 2: snow peas attempt 3: illumination

Attempt 1: No noodles.
Sauce: kidney beans, soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey and that spicy Asian hot sauce. I added onions, snow peas, bean sprouts and tofu, and served it over rice.

Attempt 2: Additions of rice noodles and chicken broth.
I realized noodles were necessary. This attempt was good. Really good. But there wasn't enough sauce! I needed more.

Attempt 3: More sauce.
By this time I was out of snow peas, but I still had the other ingredients and an appetite (NOTE: not the same day). The method I ended up with was this:
  • Boil rice noodles in chicken broth. Drain the noodles and reserve the broth!
  • Fry onions in a saucepan until translucent. Add the garlic and fry briefly.
  • Normally I would add the other veggies and stir-fry them at this step, but since bean sprouts take no time at all, and since my other ingredients (tofu and noodles) were already cooked, I went directly into making the sauce:
  • To the onions and garlic, add the beans, then some of the chicken broth (I added about 1/3 cup for one serving). Add soy sauce, honey, and rice vinegar in appropriate portions. Allow the mixture to simmer down so that the flavors are adequately combined (hint: taste). If it's too sticky, add more broth. If the sauce is too liquid-y, add a little bit of corn starch/flour to thicken it. You should have plenty of sauce here.
  • At this point I added the bean sprouts, tofu and noodles, then cooked them in the sauce just long enough for them to absorb some flavor. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
Oh, in the second and third attempts I used black-eyed peas instead of normal beans (which I was out of). In the second attempt I didn't notice it very much, but in the third it definitely was weird. I don't recommend black-eyed peas, in case you are thinking to try it. I'm going to try with black beans as soon as I get a hold of some... I'll keep you updated.

Your friend,


  1. A two-fer today! your noodles are so tiny and delicate, and tofu is an interesting choice. I may just have to try it out!

  2. Well, I couldn't find the noodles you used, and I just really like rice noodles anyway. How did you get your sauce to actual sauce consistency? Mine was too dry (the first two times) unless I added a bunch of chicken broth. Maybe it's because you used the bean liquid? I am stumped.

    Soooo delicious, though.

  3. yeah i think it's because of the extra starch in the bean liquid, and i added extra water (possibly?)

  4. I'm wondering if I could have smashed up some of the beans instead of adding corn starch?

  5. maybe? i think i probably just used more liquid - and more soy sauce - than you did.