Twice-Fried Green Beans

Makes 4 servings
Time: About 30 minutes

A Chinese classic, often made with pork; substitute chicken, turkey, or beef if you prefer, or see the variations.
Other vegetables you can use: long beans, cut into 2-inch lengths.

Neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn, for deep-frying
1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed
4 to 5 ounces minced or ground pork or extra-firm tofu
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 cup chopped scallion
1 teaspoon minced fresh chile (like jalapeño or Thai), or to taste, or hot red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce

1. While you prepare the ingredients, put about 2 inches of oil in a countertop deep-fryer or in a deep pan on the stove over medium-high heat; bring to 350°F. Add the beans all at once and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain; sprinkle with salt.

2. Wait a few minutes for the oil to cool a bit, then pour off all but 2 tablespoons of it (refrigerate and reserve it for making this dish again or for other stir-fries). Turn the heat up to high and add the pork; cook, stirring almost constantly, until the lumps break up and the color turns from pink to gray.

3. Add the garlic, scallion, and chile and cook for 30 seconds, stirring. Add the beans and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and soy sauce, stir, and turn off the heat. Taste and add more salt, chile, or soy sauce if you like and serve.

Twice-Fried Green Beans with Sausage. Substitute chopped Chinese sausage or Spanish chorizo for the pork. Cook the sausage in Step 2 until it just starts to brown.

Twice-Fried Green Beans with Cashews. Substitute 1/2 cup cashews for the pork or add the cashews. After frying the beans in Step 1, fry the cashews until golden brown; drain and sprinkle with salt. Sprinkle the dish with the cashews just before serving.