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Where EAST meets the Northwest

LONG BEANS, LONG LIFE. Eating long beans to symbolize a long life is a hallmark of the Lunar New Year. Long beans can be found in most Asian markets and well-stocked grocers. They are often known by other names, such as asparagus beans, yard-long beans, and snake beans. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

From The Asian Reporter, V22, #02 (January 16, 2012), page 24.

Lunar New Year: A culinary wish for a long life

By Alison Ladman
For The Associated Press

Eating long beans to symbolize a long life is a hallmark of the Lunar New Year.

These beans can be found in most Asian markets and well-stocked grocers. Long beans are often known by other names, such as asparagus beans, yard-long beans, and snake beans. But whatever you call them, they basically look like really long green beans.

Since this new year is the Year of the Dragon, more specifically the Water Dragon, we decided to serve our longevity dish with the dragon of the sea ó lobster. If lobster isnít available (or in the budget), shrimp is another good choice. Buy the smallest, sweetest shrimp you can find.

* * *

Dragon Beans

Start to finish: 20 minutes

Servings: 8

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/4 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns, crushed

1/2 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 pounds Chinese long beans

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup oyster sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

Splash of Sriracha sauce

7 ounces cooked lobster meat, chopped

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

* * *

In a wok or large, deep skillet over medium-high, heat the vegetable oil. Add the peppercorns, five-spice powder, and garlic. Heat, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.

Add the beans and toss to coat. Add the water, oyster sauce, and soy sauce and cover. Allow the beans to steam for five minutes, or until just tender. Add the sesame oil, Sriracha, lobster meat, and sesame seeds. Toss together and cook until just heated through. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 430 calories (45 calories from fat, 13 percent of total calories); 5 g fat (1 g saturated, 0 g trans fat); 20 mg cholesterol; 55 g carbohydrate; 26 g protein; 10 g fiber; 530 mg sodium.

* * *

To read our entire issue in celebration of the Year of the Dragon, visit

<www.asianreporter.com/completepaper.htm>.