Farmers Market Find: Chinese Long Beans

Check out these beautiful, curling beans! They almost look like they should go into a bouquet rather than a skillet, don't you think? Have you ever cooked with these beans?

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Variously called snake beans, yardlong beans, or asparagus beans, Chinese long beans are a quick-growing variety of cowpea. This bunch contained pods roughly the length of my forearm and as skinny as a drinking straw.

In flavor, Chinese long beans are very similar to the common backyard green bean most of us grew up eating. I find that they hold up better to cooking, staying crisper and more firm even after being simmered in a broth or reheated.

They're also easier to prepare than green beans. For Chinese long beans, I just trim off the root end and chop them into bite-sized pieces (or use kitchen shears!). The long length means that I can just line up a whole handful and chop them from one end to the other without pausing.

I'm planning to use this bunch in a batch of coconut-infused Thai curry. Future bunches will most certainly find their way into some of these dishes:

Sichuan Style Stir-Fried Long Beans from Simply Recipes
Long Beans with Garlic, Ginger, and Black Bean Sauce from Macro Chef
Indian-Style Stir Fried Long Beans and Chickpeas from My Diverse Kitchen

What's your favorite way to cook long beans?

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(Image: Emma Christensen)