This simple stir-fry of Chinese long beans in a vegetarian oyster sauce is true to the spirit of Chinese Buddhist cuisine, hence the name, "Temple Long beans."
Pressed five-spice tofu, vacuum-packed and with the consistency of a firm cheese, is sold in the refrigerator cases of many Asian groceries. If you cannot find it or the fragrant Chinese yellow chives, simply double the amount of long beans. String beans can also be substituted for the long beans.
4 cups (6 to 8 ounces) Chinese long beans, cut into 3-inch lengths
4 ounces five-spice pressed tofu, cut into thin slices
1/2 cup finely julienned carrot
1 cup Chinese yellow chives, cut into 3-inch lengths
1/4 cup vegetarian oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup hot water
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 1 1/2 tablespoons cold water
Several drops Japanese sesame oil (optional)
Separately blanch the long beans and carrots until tender-crisp in plain boiling water. Drain and rush under cold water to stop the cooking. Drain again.
Combine the Temple Sauce ingredients. Taste and adjust the soy sauce and sugar to your liking. Heat a wok or wide skillet over high heat until hot. Add the canola oil, swirl to glaze the pan. Then add the long beans, carrots and tofu. Stir-fry until hot, about 2 minutes.
Stir the sauce and add it to the pan. Bring it to a simmer, tossing to bathe the veggies. Stir the cornstarch mixture to recombine and add it to the pan. Stir until the sauce turns glossy, about 10 seconds. Shower in the chives, stir to blend, then turn off the heat. Add the sesame oil and toss to mix.
Serve with steamed rice.
Serves 2 to 4 people.