Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Let the Games Begin

American football season has begun at my boys' high school. Gruff-voiced coaches bark out unending commands at practice, guaranteeing that my sons come home exhausted, beaten and scarred. (This is obviously a Mom's point of view. If you ask the boys, they'd probably say "Bring It On!"). I watch them come down from the late bus drenched in sweat and mud, dragging helmets, pads and sports bags with whatever strength they have left, showing off the bruises and gashes they've collected for the day.

Unlike his older brother, Son #3 is as tall and skinny as a string bean. He would certainly be a good fit for basketball, but football has been his sport of choice, brushing off the incident a few years ago where a hefty teammate fell on his arm in a touchdown attempt. With a broken arm in a cast for the rest of the season, he was silently hailed by coach and team as a hero. I wonder if that's why he keeps signing up.

So his diet strategy this season is to "buff up" with copious servings of protein and carbs, and I sneak in salads and veggies to complete the meal. This is a delicious dish that even ravenous, meat-eating teenagers would scarf down.

Dry Fried Long Beans
adapted from The Best of Chinese Cooking by Willie Mark

450g long beans
75g shrimps, peeled, deveined and diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, minced
75g pickled chinese vegetable, diced
(or you can use japanese pickled daikon)
75g minced pork
oil for deep frying
3 tablespoons chicken stock
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoon chinese black vinegar
(or rice vinegar)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
red chili for garnish

Slice off the top and tail of the long beans and cut into 2 inch lengths. Heat oil in a wok until smoky and deep fry the beans for about 3 minutes until they wrinkle.

Remove and drain on colander lined with kitchen paper. Pour oil from the wok and set aside. Return wok to heat, add the drained beans and stir fry until they start to brown. Set aside.

Pour 2 tablespoons of oil into the wok, reheat to high and add the shrimp, garlic, ginger, pickles and pork.

Stir fry for a few minutes then add the stock, soy sauce, sugar and pepper. Bring to a boil. Add the beans and mix thoroughly over high heat until liquid has just evaporated.

Stir in vinegar and sesame oil. Garnish with slices of red chili (or red bell pepper) and serve.