The long beans my local supermarket sells are usually really wet and old looking so I was happy to come across fresh dry long beans. I have also planned to try out this recipe for the past few months. Pickled long beans are used in Hunan cuisine and one popular dish is stir fried minced meat and pickled long beans with bean paste.
There are many methods to pickle. I could use a similar method to fermented mustard green by sunning it dry. However, I did it differently by blanching the long beans in boiling water and putting it aside to cool. I also added some spices to flavour it.
The sourness comes from lacto-fermentation process. It is similar to fermented mustard green, napa cabbage kimchi, water kimchi, sauerkraut and sourdough. The addition of salt prevents spoilage. If the salt content is too high, it might slow down the fermentation process so the long beans will be more salty than sour. If the salt content is too low, the long beans will be sour but will not last long or end up mouldy.
I left it to ferment for 2 days (48 hours). After that I rinsed it, chopped it into pieces and stir fried it with garlic to gauge the flavour. It was slightly sour and salty. I think if I leave it for a few more days it would be sourer. The fermenting liquid becomes cloudy over time.
Chinese Pickled Long Beans Recipe (酸豆角)
300g long beans
1. Wash long beans and put aside.
2. Put the long beans in boiling water for 1 minute and put it aside to cool.
3. Add salt and spices into boiling water and leave it to cool.
4. Sterilize the glass jar by rinsing it with warm water first (to prevent cracking) then boiling water. Leave it to cool.
5. Arrange long beans into glass jar then pour salt water in.
6. Leave it to ferment for 2-7 days. Taste it to check whether it is ready. Keep refrigerated after that.