7 May 2015

Szechuan Asparagus

Finally it's May and asparagus season has started. I went to my local PYO armed with my mushroom knife and a silly smile on my face. Apparently I wasn't the only one, there were quite a few other enthusiasts already there, but there was plenty to go round and I picked enough to last us a week or so.
And I had another recipe lined up from my YouTube sessions - Szechuan Green Beans. Watching the video made me think that the recipe would work just as well with asparagus. However, I forgot to get salad onions required for this recipe and I had no onion in the house, so I skipped it. It still turned out quite nice.


1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp water
285 g thin green asparagus, trimmed and washed
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp chilli sauce
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp granulated sugar
3 tbsp soy sauce
chilli flakes (optional)


  1. Heat up a pan and briefly toast the sesame seeds, stirring constantly, until they start popping, then remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Stir the corn starch into the water and set aside.
  3. Then heat up the grapeseed oil and fry the asparagus until it caramelises here and there, about 15 minutes. Remove to a side dish.
  4. In the same pan, heat up the toasted sesame oil and add the ginger and garlic and fry for a minute or so, stirring vigorously.
  5. Add the chilli sauce, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce and chilli flakes and stir through, then give the dissolved cornstarch a quick stir and pour into the pan, then return the asparagus and stir to get it well coated.
  6. Serve warm.

Now the recipe was for a pound of green beans, i. e. about half a kilo. My asparagus was just over half of that and the result was quite a lot of sauce to go round, so next time I'll definitely aim for the half a kilo mark. It'll also probably make the asparagus look more attractive.

I was also suprised that the sauce first appeared to be so thick - of course the cornstarch did do this, but I expected it to be a bit runnier.

Finally, I wasn't quite sure what sort of chilli sauce to use - in the YouTube video it appeared to be the sweet chilli sauce, but that has no heat at all almost and I thought it can't be right as sugar is added as well. So I used the Korean chilli paste/thick sauce I bought for my dolsot bibimbap recipes. And I added some really hot chilli flakes just to be on the safe side.

Overall I'm very pleased with the result and Lundulph and I gobbled them up pretty quickly. However, for the remaining asparagus, we'll go back to boiling them, as it's possibly a bit healthier...

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