Stir fried Pork with Long Beans

Delicious Thai flavors infuse this dish of long beans and pork.

Stir-fried Pork with Long Beans

We’ve been eating a lot of yard-long beans at house of Annie lately. They are a hardy bean and are full of protein and vitamins. We eat them almost once a week in this house.

One of the reasons I love them is that they keep very well in the fridge. I find that now that I live in very hot, humid Kuching, a lot of my green leafy vegetables spoil faster than when we lived in California. And now that I’m working, I have less time to shop for groceries—this means I have to buy most of my veggies on the weekend when I have time to market. Being hardy, the long beans are my go-to vegetable near the end of the week when I’ve cooked up all the leafy vegetables.

One Harvest, Three Meals

Just recently, my friend Maggie (the wonderful gardener who gave us the sweet potatoes for our Pandan Spiral Moon Cake recipe) shared a large harvest of her beans with me. We ate them three times that week! I used one batch in a regular Chinese-style stir-fry, then another batch in fried rice.

Being that I cook this vegetable a lot these days, I started looking around for a new way to cook them as stir frying them with different Chinese sauces was beginning to get boring. I’ve done them with black bean sauce, brown bean sauce, with sambal belacan, with firm tofu, with shrimp and chicken…you get the picture. As you can see, they really go far in many applications. But there are always other ways to cook them.

Meant to Be

So I was hunting around and this one Epicurious recipe caught my eye. The ingredients had Thai written all over it. I had just finished making Ramadan Chicken a week before and many of the spices needed for this dish were still leftover in my fridge. It was meant to be.

I even had the cilantro root needed, tucked into my freezer (tip: when you find cilantro with the roots intact, don’t toss out the roots—save them in a freezer bag and stash them in your freezer—they make a wonderful addition to many Thai dishes).

We still don’t have a blender or food processor (living here in Malaysia has made us depend on whatever we have on hand as we’re trying not to accumulate anything so we won’t be overladen when we have to move again) so when I asked if Nate would be willing to help me make this dish by pounding the spice ingredients in the mortar, he willingly agreed.

Stir-Fried Pork with Long Beans Recipe

adapted from

1 stalk lemongrass, use only bottom 3 inches (1st outer layer removed)
2 red chillies (original recipe called for 3 dried Thai chillies with seeds, you decide based on the level of spice you can handle)
3 Tbsp minced shallots (about 2-3 shallots)
2 Tbsp minced garlic (about 3-4 garlic cloves)
2 Tbsp dried shrimp, rehydrated in some water
1 tsp minced cilantro root (or stems if you can’t get the roots)
1 tsp lime/lemon juice (original recipe called for Kaffir lime or regular lime zest—I found the juice worked just as well)
1 tsp minced peeled galangal (or substitute with ginger if you cannot get galangal)
1 tsp kosher salt (I used Himalayan pink salt)
5 black peppercorns
1 tsp belacan (shrimp paste), that had been dry-roasted

Aromatics for Spice Paste

pounding aromatics for stir-fried pork with long beans

1/2 lb long beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 lb boneless pork shoulder (or tenderloin)

long beans and pork

3 Tbsp peanut or vegetable oil
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp grated palm sugar or light brown sugar
3 medium Kaffir lime leaves, ribs discarded and leaves sliced very thin


1. Make the paste. Mince the lemongrass and cut the chillies and smaller pieces. Add lemongrass, chillies, shallots, garlic, dried shrimp (without water, but save the water), cilantro root, lemon juice, galangal, salt, peppercorns, and belacan into a mortar and pound until you get a smooth paste with your pestle.
2. Slice pork into thin slices against the grain. Put aside.
3. Heat your wok on high heat. Add peanut/vegetable oil and heat till shimmering.
4. Add the paste and stir-fry making sure to keep the paste moving so that it doesn’t burn. Once it starts to smell nicely fragrant, in about a minute, add the pork, making sure to mix it with the paste well. Spread the pork in one layer and leave for 30 seconds to a minute then flip.
5. Add beans, and fish sauce and palm sugar. Toss until beans are coated in paste. If the paste looks like it is drying out, add a bit of the dried shrimp water (about 1/4 cup). Continue to toss beans and pork every so often and add more water if the paste looks dry. Beans should be cooked in roughly 3-5 minutes (depending on how crunchy or tender you want your beans). Adjust your heat if the paste is threatening to burn.

frying spice paste, pork and long beans

6. Once beans and pork are cooked, turn heat off and toss in finely shredded kaffir lime leaves.
7. Dish out and serve with rice.

Stir-fried Pork with Long Beans

Initially, I was planning to just make this dish without the meat component. But then I realized that I did have some lean pork in the freezer so I decided to throw it in to complete the dish in its original recipe. Personally I think that even without it, it would be wonderful as the spice ingredients are plenty flavorful. So your call on the pork (and I’m sure chicken or shrimp would also work as a replacement).

Another thing I changed in the recipe was to not bother with the step of parboiling the beans. I felt that that was just too humbug and would be one more thing I would have to wash. Instead, I just added the beans right into my wok after putting in the pork and adding a bit of water to cook it through in a bit more time. The beans cooked through completely and was perfectly fine.

Nate totally LOVED this dish and could not get over how amazing the flavor components were. I could not get over how I had not chanced upon this recipe before. It was a really good combination and I’m glad I gave it a try. You will have to just trust me on this and get yourselves some yard-long green beans (or if you cannot find them, I’m sure French beans will work too) to try this recipe. It is seriously good.


Do you have any other ways to cook long beans? Leave a comment and share your recipe!

Cheers, Annie

Since this recipe used garden-grown beans, I am entering this post in the Grow Your Own roundup for September, hosted by girlichef

35 thoughts on “Stir fried Pork with Long Beans”

  1. Is this the same as Chinese long beans back here in the States? It actually looks like regular green beans but longer. The dish looks like it turned out fantastic! Stir-fried beans is how I always go, but that paste you made sounds amazing. And yes, the mortar is the old-fashioned food processor! 🙂

    1. Ben –

      these yard-long beans are thicker like French beans but just as long as the yard-long beans you see in the markets in the Bay Area.

  2. Oh my goodness, the spice paste alone has me drooling…this dish sounds wonderful! I have never used long beans (can you believe that!?)…but I am going to be on the look out for some! Thank you so much for submitting this to GYO this month =)

    1. Heather –

      If you can’t find the long beans, then French beans will work.

      Thanks for hosting! Looking forward to the roundup.

  3. My computer is being kooky, so I wasn’t sure if my comment came through or not…SOOOOOO, just in case…. YUM, I love the sound of this dish…especially the spice paste. I’m on the look out for long beans since I’ve never tried them. Thank you for submitting this to GYO this month 🙂

  4. I love these green long beans. There’re not so common here in Belgium and I have to make do with french beans, instead. I prefer the ones packed in Kenya, as they are greener and firmer(like the ones you have in the pics), but small. I agree with you re the cilantro (or coriander) roots. I never throw mine away. I do the same you do, tucked them in the freezer! Always come in handy with any Thai or not-so-Thai dishes. The same goes to fresh lemon grass, galangal or ginger. Just keep them in the freezer and they will stay as fresh as every when needed. BTW, your recipe is a keeper! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Camille –

      Unfortunately, Foodbuzz didn’t think we’re worthy to make the cut, so we’re out of Project Food Blog. But that’s not going to stop us from blogging! We’ll get ’em next time.

  5. Oooh. Pork is the best way to flavor those lovely beans. I can’t find long beans in my area, not fresh ones anyway, but I’ve got a crazy idea of glazing them with hoisin-sambal sauce. A sticky, thick one. Hmmm….

    1. Sophia –

      They should sell these long beans in the Asian groceries there.

      Hoisin-sambal sounds like an interesting flavor combination!

  6. I love long beans and buy them whenever I see them at the Asian grocery store. I use them in fried rice, stir fries, and vegetable curries.

    Your dish sounds very appetizing with all the spices and aromatics. Good job Nate for pounding the spice ingredients 🙂

    1. Biren –

      I’ve found that pounding in the mortar and pestle, while slower, is more fun and somehow makes the food more aromatic.

    1. Wiffy –

      thanks! I hope to get better and more efficient at using the mortar and pestle. It’s a very useful tool.

  7. I love long beans for those reasons, too. You can buy a bunch at the weekend farmers market, and it will keep in your fridge for days until you have time to cook it. And they cook so easily, too. No peeling or trimming. Just chop into the lengths you want.

    1. Bonnie –

      I do hope you can find some long beans in your area. If not, then you can use French beans. The question is, can you get the other Asian ingredients as well?

  8. Thanks for sharing this link. Cut up, they look just like American string beans. Is the taste similar? I would imagine so, no? Love that you used an original mortar & pestle. I collect them and snatched one up in Mexico during one of my recent trips there.

    I live right next door to an international market so I’ll make sure to look for the yard long beans next time.


    1. Bren,

      yes, the taste and texture of yard-long beans are similar to green beans.

      I hope you can find the ingredients – this is a delicious dish!

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