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mcohen

Fava beans in Chinese cooking

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I love to eat fava beans even though they're a pain to prepare. Usually, I prepare them in Mediterranean dishes where I'll use cook them with pancetta, pecorino cheese, etc..

And,in my lifetime, I've eaten so many chinese meals that I'm sure I must be part chinese by now.

But, I've just learned that China is the biggest grower of fava beans in the world and I'm curious what do the Chinese do with fava beans. I don't recall eating any fava bean dishes in a Chinese restaurant. Anybody have any recipes?

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I bought some a few weeks ago when they first came into season here, and prepared a recipe from Fuschia Dunlop's "Revolutionary Chine Cookbook" (which I highly recommend). They're not something I've seen on regular menus in China, but at my local restaurant, when they were in season, I saw plates of them going out of the kitchen in similar preparations.

post-41378-127397946961.jpg

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Simplest thing is cándòu chǎoròu 蚕豆炒肉, fava beans with pork. Kinda like the picture above, but I prefer it with slices of pork.

I've also eaten them boiled like you'd boil máodòu 毛豆 (except peeled) in a broth of dark soy sauce, anise, Sichuan peppercorn, black pepper, chile, whatever else. Then served cold or lukewarm.

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I've also eaten them boiled like you'd boil máodòu 毛豆 (except peeled) in a broth of dark soy sauce, anise, Sichuan peppercorn, black pepper, chile, whatever else. Then served cold or lukewarm.

A bit like giant edamame? That would be an excellent drinking snack.

Simplest thing is cándòu chǎoròu 蚕豆炒肉, fava beans with pork. Kinda like the picture above, but I prefer it with slices of pork.

Slices of pork loin?

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Yep, you can slice pork loin thin, marinate it for a sec in soy sauce, black pepper, bit of starch. But I like it with fattier pork, too, like pork shoulder.

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At home, we usually cook fava beans with preserved vegetables, pork (ground or thing strips) and marinated tofu. You can add some chili if you want some spice.

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In addition to the stir-fried preparations, they are a common dried snack, usually seasoned with salt and occasionally garlic or other seasonings. The dried ones are usually large in appearance.

I believe they're also a common ingredient in doubanjiang (豆瓣醬), and maybe some other pastes / sauces.

Asian markets will often carry frozen shelled favas (outer shell taken off, but inner shell still on), which certainly saves one step when preparing them at home. When I've had them at restaurants, they are usually large and have the outer shell on, so the texture is tougher and drier than many European / Mediterranean preparations I've had. I don't eat meat, so I usually have them prepared just by themselves, along with some simple seasoning and a lot of wok qi.


Edited by Will (log)

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Have you ever fried them with preserved green vegetable, Will? I know a lot of green vegetables are treated this way if they're not dressed with pork.

The big dried snack ones are very nice - I had some wasabi ones from Japan while I was in Beijing that nigh blew my head off.

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Have you ever fried them with preserved green vegetable, Will? I know a lot of green vegetables are treated this way if they're not dressed with pork.

I'm not sure if I've ever made them that way at home, but pretty sure I've had them cooked that way somewhere, maybe at a Sichuan place.

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They're used a lot in Shanghainese cooking. They make a delicious cold starter of cooked fava beans pureed with Shanghai preserved vegetable and lots of sesame paste.

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