Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Spicy mince with green beans

I got this recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's Far Eastern Cookery. It's a Vietnamese dish, and in the original version just a little mince is used to add a bit of variety and protein to the beans, but I've changed it so that it's 50:50.

Cookery books are a great way to learn new dishes, but I do think over-reliance on them can be a problem. In particular, the need for cookery writers to provide accurate measurements can sometimes become an obstacle both to remembering old dishes and improvising with ingredients to create new ones.

Instead of trying to remember exactly how many grammes, teaspoons or centiletres of each ingredient a dish contains, it is often better to think in terms of proportions for the main ingredients and then adjust the seeasoning to taste. With this dish, it's particularly easy: equal amounts of mince and beans, then enough garlic, chillies and fish sauce to create a flavour which is salty and hot without being overpowering.

Ingredients vegetable oil
250 g mince
250 g green beans
2 fat cloves of garlic
2 hot red chillies
2 tablespoons of fish sauce

  1. Chop the garlic and chillies finely, heat the oil in a wok or large saucepan, and fry the garlic and chillies for a few seconds.
  2. Add the mince, stir well to separate, and fry until it has lost its raw colour.
  3. Add the green beans, the fish sauce and a little water, bring to the boil and simmer until the beans are tender.

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