Today, I want to introduce you to a brand new dish, Stir-Fried Green Beans with Pork and Chinese Olive Vegetables. Let’s hopscotch over the rather novel fact that the green beans are chopped short and address the principal uniqueness of this dish: the “olive vegetable.”
What Is Chinese Olive Vegetable?
You are undoubtedly asking, what the heck is an olive vegetable? After some digging on the internet, I discovered that it’s not only woefully grammatically questionable but also that “olive vegetable” is a condiment made with a combination of minced green olives and Chinese mustard greens.
I was REALLY surprised to find out that it’s not a preserved vegetable like Chinese preserved mustard greens, but that it’s actually cooked. The basic process is to boil the green olives for half of an hour, then stir-fry the olives with Chinese mustard greens along with oil and a few choice spices until everything is wilted.
(Note that you shouldn’t be alarmed when you see a couple of olive pits in the jar. Just pick them out.)
This unique concoction originated in Chao Zhou (潮州). The cuisine from this region is called Teochew or Chiu-chow cuisine. When I was in the professional world and traveled to that area for business many years ago, I had some of the best tasting food there.
I just remember all the dishes were so delicate and well-balanced. It shares a lot of the same cooking techniques as Cantonese cuisine, but the ingredients sometimes are more elevated and surprising at times.
One of Our Favorite Ways to Cook Green Beans
Like Ants Climbing a Tree and Three Cup Chicken, this dish has an “odd” name but offers robust flavor. It’s become my new favorite way to cook green beans, and even my girls have requested a jar of this olive vegetable for their apartment.
When I first tasted this dish, I fell in love with it completely. Seriously, don’t let the weird factor deter you, it’s SO GOOD.
It makes me wonder how many other yummy condiments are out there that I don’t know about. I’d love to hear from you readers about any favorite oddball condiments you know of that you love!
Give this dish a chance! If you enjoy Sichuan Dry Fried Green Beans, you’ll wonder where this dish has been all your life!
Heat 1½ tablespoons of oil in your wok over medium heat. Add the green beans, stir-fry, and spread the beans out in a single layer.
Let cook for 20 seconds. Then stir and repeat the spreading step several times until the green beans are slightly wilted and cooked through. Turn the heat down to medium if needed to avoid burning.
It takes about 5 minutes to cook the green beans this way. Transfer your stir-fried green beans to a dish and set aside.
Stir for a few seconds, turn up the heat, and add the pork.
Stir-fry the pork until it’s cooked through.
Stir for about a minute, salt to taste, and plate these Chao Zhou stir-fried green beans!
The flavor of the stir-fried green beans cooked with preserved olive vegetable is both delicious and addictive!
Stir-Fried Green Beans with Pork and Chinese Olive Vegetable
For the meat:
For the rest of the dish:
- 2 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil (divided)
- 1 pound green beans (450g, cut into ½-inch pieces)
- 1 teaspoon ginger (minced)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- ¼ cup preserved olive vegetable
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
- ¼ teaspoon sugar
- 6-7 dried chili peppers (deseeded and chopped into coarse pieces, optional)
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- Marinate the ground pork with 1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine, 1 teaspoon light soy sauce and a pinch of white pepper powder. Let sit for 15 minutes.
- Heat 1½ tablespoons of oil in your wok over medium heat. Add the green beans, stir-fry, and spread the beans out in a single layer. Let cook for 20 seconds. Then stir and repeat the spreading step several times until the green beans are slightly wilted and cooked through. Turn the heat down to medium if needed to avoid burning. It takes about 5 minutes to cook the green beans this way. Transfer to a dish and set aside.
- Next, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in your wok over medium heat. Add the minced ginger and garlic. Stir for a few seconds, turn up the heat, and add the pork. Stir-fry the pork until it’s cooked through. Now add the olive vegetable, Shaoxing wine, and sugar. Stir-fry everything to combine. Add the green beans back to the wok along with the dried hot peppers and sesame oil. Stir for about a minute, salt to taste, and serve!