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5 tips for tasty vegetables and an umami-laden green bean recipe

Green beans combined with the salty sweet taste of preserved radish will have even your children asking for seconds.

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Haricots verts and preserved radish are an unlikely combination but this dish is a hit with both my 3-year-old son and husband. Read: there are never any leftovers! I adapted this recipe from Steamy Kitchen’s green bean stir-fry recipe. On a whim, I used haricots verts, also called filet beans, the green bean’s slender French cousin (crikey, even their veggies are skinnier!). These beans are very tender and “beanier” in flavor when young but can turn tough if allowed to mature.

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Born in Indonesia and raised in Singapore, Patricia Tanumihardja writes about food, travel, and lifestyle through a multicultural lens and has been published in numerous national and regional publications. Pat is also the creator of the “Asian Ingredients 101” iPhone and Android app, a glossary on-the-go that’s the perfect companion on a trip to the Asian market. Her first book, The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook: Home Cooking from Asian American Kitchens, will be available in paperback in September 2012.

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As for the preserved radish, you can buy either the sweet or salted kind at the Asian market – it will say on the bag. It doesn’t make too much of a difference as both are preserved with salt and sugar. I know it’s a big bag but you’ll use it up in no time in pad Thai, omelets and numerous stir fries! If you can’t find preserved salted radish, use more garlic or add some chopped shallots.

Haricots verts (green beans) with preserved radish

Time: 15 minutes
Makes: 4 to 6 servings as part of a multicourse, family meal

1 pound haricots verts, trimmed

1/8 cup preserved salted radish

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1/8 teaspoon sugar

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the haricots verts and parboil until crisp-tender, 4 to 5 minutes. (You can also microwave (3 to 4 minutes) or steam them for the same amount of time.) Don’t overcook as you will be stirfrying them later. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold running water.

2. While the beans are cooking, soak the preserved radish in a small bowl of water for a couple of minutes to get the excess salt off. Squeeze them dry then mince.

3. Swirl the oil into a large wok or skillet and heat over high heat until it starts to shimmer. Add the preserved radish and garlic and stir and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Toss in the cooked haricots verts and drizzle with soy sauce and sesame oil. Sprinkle the sugar and stir and cook until the beans are coated with sauce and heated through. Serve immediately with hot cooked rice and/or a main dish

Related post on The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook: Asian pickles

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