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Long Beans, Fennel, and Basil, Chinese Style

Vegetables, also Vegetarian Foods

Long Beans, Fennel, and Basil, Chinese Style
1 pound Chinese long beans
1 medium fennel bulb
1 cup soybean or light olive oil
1 small sweet red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut in julienne strips
2 shallots, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons dried shrimp, soaked for fifteen minutes, drained, and minced to a paste (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
2 teaspoons fresh lemon or lime juice
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Preparation: 1. Remove ends from the beans, and cut then into two-inch lengths.
2. Cut fennel in half, cut out the core, and remove any tough outer leaves, Halve again. The cut into one-quarter-inch thick lengthwise slices.
3. Heat oil until it reaches 375 degrees F. Add beans, red pepper, and shallots and stir-fry for about one minute until beans and pepper are slightly softened. Then drain in a colander set over a large bowl.
4. Return one tablespoon of the oil to the pan, add the dried shrimp if using them, and the minced garlic and saute for thirty seconds.
5. Add fennel and the stock, reduce heat to low, and stir-fry for about five minutes or until fennel is tender.
6. Add the bean mixture, lime juice, and soy sauce and cook until vegetables are firm-tender, about two minutes.
7. Turn off heat, mix in the basil, and season to taste with the salt and pepper; and serve.

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