We learned to make the excellent Beijing meal bian dou men mian, or steamed noodles and green beans. Last year, she lent a hand when we made Chinese peanut brittle for the blog. She’d observe us in the kitchen and on the blog on the weekends, and she suggested we share this recipe because it was a family favorite of hers. We all ate it after she taught us how to cook it, and it was a smashing success.
What we call “green bean noodles cooked in a covered pot” is a dish called “bian dou men mian.” It’s a lot to take in. But I can guarantee that you won’t find steaming noodles and green beans on restaurant menus. It hasn’t made it onto any menus that I’ve checked out yet.
You might be wondering, “So what makes this noodle and green bean dish so special?”
To begin with, it’s a recipe that couldn’t be simpler.
Second, the fresh noodles in this dish are steamed, creating a satisfying “al dente” chewiness. Green beans with grilled pork accompany the steaming noodles and delicious sauce.
Because I have so many green beans right now from my garden, I think now is a good time to spread this fantastic dish around. Having learned how to prepare (“men fan”) in a rice cooker, your kitchen will never be the same after trying today’s (men mian).
Make the dish to your liking by changing the ingredients to suit your preferences, but keep in mind that fresh noodles are required.
- 225g of thinly sliced pork belly
- 1 tablespoon of Shaoxing rice wine
- 2 teaspoons of light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon of cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon of ground white pepper
Rest of the dish:
- 450g of fresh white noodles
- 1 pound of green beans; cut in half
- 5 cloves of coarsely chopped garlic
- 3 dried coarsely chopped red chilies
- 3 slices of julienned ginger
- 3 star anise
- 2 chopped scallions
- 1 cup of water
- 3 tablespoons of oil
- 2 tablespoons of light soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of dark soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
- To begin, combine the marinade ingredients with the meat and set it aside for 20 minutes. Get ready a steamer, making sure the noodles won’t come in contact with any water.
- Loosely stack the noodles on a large sheet of parchment paper, then place it on the steaming rack. Toss the noodles lightly in the oil after adding the tablespoon of oil. Ten to twelve minutes of vigorous steaming over high heat (this cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your noodles). Turn off the stove and put the food aside.
- In a wok, warm up another 2 teaspoons of oil over moderate heat. Just 30 seconds after adding the ginger and star anise, they’ll be ready to be used.
- Stir-fry for a minute after adding the garlic, chilis (if using), and scallions. Throw in the pork and crank up the heat. Cook the pork in a stir-fry until it is opaque. Then, brown the pork by spreading it out in one layer on the wok’s surface (30 seconds to a minute).
- Cook the green beans for a few minutes after stirring them in. Put in some sugar, light soy sauce, and dark soy sauce. Add some water and stir the mixture.
- Cover pot and let flavors meld for a few minutes before adding steamed noodles. Warm up the oven and set the timer for 5 minutes.
- If you uncover the wok, you’ll observe that the liquid has evaporated to a lesser extent. Reduce the heat, then combine the ingredients to coat the noodles with sauce. Noodles should absorb the sauce rapidly. Start serving right away.