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Recipe: Yunnan-style crispy red beans

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Editor's note: As interest in Yunnan cuisine increases around China and the rest of the world, GoKunming contributor Guo Duomi will occasionally offer recipes for traditional Yunnan dishes. If there is a certain dish you would like to see a recipe for, please send us your ideas via our contact form.

Yunnan-style crispy red beans - Suhongdou (酥红豆)

Red beans are a well known ingredient across Asia, finding their way into all manner of dishes including drinks and desserts. This classic Yunnan recipe pits the humble red bean against the might of the deep fry with very crispy, very tasty results.

The two most popular iterations of this bean dish are bohe suhongdou (薄荷酥红豆) in which the beans are accompanied by fresh mint leaves and kucai suhongdou (苦菜酥红豆), which is made with the greens of the sow thistle plant, known in Chinese as kucai, or 'bitter vegetable'. The image above shows the finished kucai version of this recipe.

400g precooked red beans*
50g mint or kucai**

Approximately 50g of flour
2 tsp salt
Oil for frying

* Red beans are widely available in Yunnan markets in both dried and precooked form. You may purchase the dried version and cook them yourself if you wish. You may also use tinned red kidney beans as a substitute.

* Kale can be used as a substitute for kucai

Roughly chop the mint, discarding the rough end of the stems but including the stems attached to the leaves. If you are using kucai instead of mint, chop the leaves roughly and discard the base of the stems.

Place the flour in a bowl and add in a few spoonfuls of red beans. Using chopsticks work the beans around until they are well coated with flour. Carefully transfer the beans to a plate, trying not to take too much excess flour with them. Repeat this process until you have coated all of your beans.

Heat 4-5 tablespoons of oil in a wok then add the beans. Fry for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally but not too vigorously. Remove the beans to a plate, leaving any oil behind in the wok.

Add another tablespoon or so of oil to the wok and, when heated add in the mint or kucai. Fry for about 30 seconds and then add the beans back in, followed by the salt. Stir through until the beans are well mixed with the mint or kucai.

Transfer to a plate or bowl and serve with your other dishes.

Happy Eating!

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I cooked this tonight and can confirm it's delicious and very filling! Although I did add the salt (and pepper, and chilli powder) in with the flour at the beginning when coating the beans...


Oh - another thought - this dish is amazing as well because it's soooo cheap! and so easy to make!


Oh my gosh, this was my favorite dish when I was a student at Yunnan University! Thank you thank you for the recipe!


this is good. i too added chilli and garlic..yum. thanks!

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