The quiet simplicity of a few ingredients and a straightforward method is just what the beginning of summer begs for. These two dishes were the featured recipes for Wok Wednesdays this month, and so lovely they bear repeating, becoming part of our regular rotation. The chicken dish is all about letting the ingredients each shine thru, without any masking of a strong sauce (although I would not begrudge anyone adding a bit of ginger, because ginger almost always is a good thing!). The eggs and green beans are a dish that certainly works for a dinner course, but in our house, also made a perfect weekend breakfast for two. Initially I was not able to find nice long beans, but had some perfect Haricots Verts (Thin French Green Beans) and substituted them (as suggested by fellow Wok Wednesday cooks) to a fine example of this delicate dish. Later in the month I found good looking long beans and gave it a second try.
As you can see, each of these dishes had just a short amount of prep. I do pop meat into the freezer for about 30-50 minutes to help make slicing it thin a bit easier, especially if you are trying for ¼” slices.
For the Chicken with Garlic and Sugar Snaps, you will want those crisp perfect sugar snaps of the early summer, though you can use tinned baby corn and bamboo shoots. I liked to use colourful rainbow carrots but any nice tender carrots work fine. You may even find fresh baby corn if you are lucky, in which case you will give them just a few moments more in the wok I would add them before the sugar snaps).
For the Summer Long Beans (or Haricots Verts), you want unblemished ones, trimmed to an even ½” length. I whisk the eggs lightly while the wok heats up. This recipe is slightly unusual in using olive oil, but the beans and eggs are in the wok for such a short time that the olive oil behaves fine. Normally I might use avocado oil in high heat wok cooking, but it was not a problem to follow the recipe exactly on this. I loved both versions, although himself would prefer slightly longer cooking on the long beans. I like the crunchy vegetative flavour of the quickly cooked ones but understand that there is a slight difference between the two types of beans and a matter of personal preference.
My eggs the second time were a bit brighter, which I think was just a matter of brighter yellow yolks from a different source for pastured eggs. both were equally delicate and worked with either my bamboo chuan or my thin wire fish spatula.
When I do a cooked breakfast, I try to make vegetables the main ingredient – and if used as a complete meal for two, this was perfect – 8 ounces of beans were about 2 cups once chopped. I think this would work as a fast, weeknight dinner with some rice as well. simple seasoning of salt lets the beans flavour and velvety, silky eggs shine. You want to finish with a nice amount of moisture still.
The upper dish was made with haricots verts, the lower one with long beans.
May you find some quiet bites to remember June as a beginning, as a way to renew your spirit. ♥♥
These recipes are found in The Breath of a Wok, pages 75 and 140. For a wonderful. dramatic and satisfying dish, you also might want to try this recipe on Grace’s website, as a nice introduction to her book. If you have not already visited the Wok Wednesday website or our Facebook group – please stop on in, get your book and wok with us!