4 Season Beans & Happy New Year!

Today is Chinese New Year’s (CNY) Eve (or also known as the Spring Festival, marking the first day of Spring on the Lunar Calendar) and like most Chinese/Asian families, we’ll be spending the night at home, enjoying a wonderful home cooked meal while watching Chinese singing and dancing on TV. We have satellite TV at home which makes such festivals more enjoyable and authentic, although the 3 hours time difference does pose a problem for our sleep patterns.

For those of you who don’t celebrate this ‘New Year’, it’s really the same as the western New Year that just passed, except the Chinese or Lunar Calendar runs on a different date system. I.e. it’s based off cycles of the moon circling the Earth or also known as moon phase.

This means that each Lunar month is a few days different to the Western calendar. The older generations (such as my grandma, some aunties and uncles) still celebrate their birthdays and anniversaries according to the Lunar calendar, making my life difficult as the dates are seemingly different every year. The CNY dates are also different every year, this year falling on 23rd January, which is very early (it’s usually in February).

It’s a tradition in Asian countries that celebrate this festival to give ‘red packets’ (hong bao in Mandarin, lai see in Cantonese, ang pao in Hokkien, sae bae dong in Korean and li xi in Vietnamese) which contain money as a gesture of good luck and wealth in the coming year and is only given to unmarried persons. However, as my family’s been in Australia for quite a number of years now, we’ve partly lost that tradition. Although we get together with family and ‘celebrate’ with good food and good company, we no longer give or receive red packets.

I wrote last year during CNY that fireworks are lit all across China during the New Year’s count down. Festive decorations can be seen everywhere you go. I’m a bit sad that I don’t get to spend CNY in Shanghai this year, but spending it here with family is another sort of joy.

I really don’t mind whether I get red packets or even having fireworks, as long as I get to eat good food. ๐Ÿ˜€ The recipe below is not a traditional CNY dish, nor are we having it tonight but it’s undoubtedly Chinese and very delicious and easy to make. We made this dish for the Ipad App that we’re making (a recipe related app) but the photos didn’t turn out as well as I hoped. We are still in the process of getting the app done but it’s taking forever. I will post up details when it’s closer to completion.

Four Season Beans
Time to prepare: 10 minutes
Time to cook: 10 minutes
Serves: 2

A popular Szechuan dish with beans stir fried with spicy seasoned pork.

Note: this recipe results in a rather spicy dish, reduce the amount of dried chilli used for a milder version.


โ€ข    200g beans
โ€ข    100g pork mince
โ€ข    2 tbsp cooking oil
โ€ข    1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine
โ€ข    1 tbsp light soy sauce
โ€ข    1/2 tbsp oyster sauce
โ€ข    1 tsp sugar
โ€ข    20g ginger
โ€ข    2 spring onion
โ€ข    2 cloves garlic
โ€ข    1 fresh red chilli
โ€ข    7 dried red chilli


1. Cut beans into approx. 6cm segments.  Finely chop garlic, ginger, spring onion and dried chilli.  Thinly slice fresh chilli.
2. Heat oil at medium high heat and fry garlic, ginger, spring onion and dried chilli for 1 min.
3. Add pork mince and fry for 3 min, breaking mince up into small pieces.
4. Add beans, rice wine, soy sauce, oyster sauce and sugar and stir to combine.
5. Increase heat to high.  Add in a splash of water and cover, cooking for 6 min.*
6. Remove from heat and serve immediately with fresh chilli.

* Shake pan every minute or so (without removing the lid) to ensure nothing sticks to pan.

Happy Chinese New Year everyone!

Wishing you all a healthy, prosperous and lucky year ahead and of course, with plenty of good food as well! ๐Ÿ˜€

Question time: Do you celebrate Chinese New Year? If so, what’s something special or traditional that you and your family will always do (or eat) during this festive period?

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31 comments… add one
  • Victoria Challalncin January 23, 2012, 12:58 am

    Wow, Jenny, what a lovely and interesting blog. Your photos are just gorgeous. Am so glad to discover it!

    I live in Mexico where I can’t get some Chinese ingredients, but I can find everything for this recipe, which looks wonderful. Thanks for posting

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake January 23, 2012, 12:22 pm

      Thanks for visiting Victoria. ๐Ÿ˜€ I’ve always wanted to visit Mexico, I love the food! Way better than Chinese ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Claire @ Claire K Creations January 23, 2012, 1:35 am

    I had this dish while I was in China last year and loved it. Look forward to making it at home! Happy Chinese New Year!

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake January 23, 2012, 12:23 pm

      Happy Chinese New Year to you too! I really like this dish as it has vegetables but it’s not vegetarian…and it has a kick too!

  • Winston January 23, 2012, 5:38 am

    Oh wow Jenny… This is seriously one of my favourite dishes to order in Chinese restaurants, period!! But I can never quite make out the flavours mmm this recipe is so helpful I can’t wait to try this out! Btw your photography is seriously to die forrr omg love it. Thanks for dropping by I’m so glad to have come across your amazing blog now. Gong Xi Fa Chai to you and your family! =)

  • Hotly Spiced January 23, 2012, 7:22 am

    Happy CNY Jenny. Your recipe looks delicious. I love how you’ve maintained the vibrant green of the beans. And the red of the chillies makes the dish so pretty and colourful. We don’t celebrate CNY – just can’t seem to work out when it is. My sister married a Chinese Australian and they are currently living in Beijing so she becomes very involved in CNY. Says it’s a wonderful time that’s so important to the Chinese.

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake January 24, 2012, 1:00 pm

      Happy CNY to you too. :) It’s quite hard to figure it if you’re not in Asia but generally you can get an idea when you visit any Asian dominated suburbs or Asian grocery stores, they’ll start selling festive looking things and glutinous rice cakes around CNY. :)
      Wow your sister lives in Beijing? The festivals there are fantastic! Maybe you can visit her one day and experience what an authentic CNY is really like! Fireworks and all…:D

  • GourmetGetaways January 23, 2012, 7:26 am

    I am so pleased to have discovered your blog! This dish looks delicious, I have been wondering what else I can do with the surplus of beans I have growing in my garden :) problem solved.

    Goodluck with the app!

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake January 24, 2012, 1:00 pm

      Thank you for visiting and for your lovely comment! You grow your own beans? I’ve always wanted to grow my own vegetables in the garden but the garden’s too dirty and small….:(

  • Lorraine Not Quite Nigella January 23, 2012, 7:31 am

    Happy Chinese New Year! This dish looks lovely and it’s fascinating that some relatives still celebrate their birthdays and anniversaries according to the cny calendar!

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake January 24, 2012, 1:42 pm

      Happy CNY Lorraine! It is quite interesting and a bit weird at the same time…my uncle just happened to have the same birthday as my brother this year, I think it’s once every 9 years or something that it coincides…wait, I think I’m making that up…

  • Mary@beyondjelly January 23, 2012, 8:32 am

    Yay! Thanks for posting this recipe. I loooved ordering this in China, but am too much of a cheapskate to order it anywhere in Sydney (I can’t cope with seeing beans super cheap in the supermarket and then paying a premium in a restaurant!)

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake January 24, 2012, 1:43 pm

      I agree re the expensive veggies…everything in China’s so much cheaper and there’s a bigger variety. Making it yourself is not hard at all though so that’s a good alternative :)

  • choux choux January 23, 2012, 10:17 am

    Happy new year!!! That dish looks so good. Your new recipe app sounds super exciting!!!

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake January 24, 2012, 1:44 pm

      Thanks! ๐Ÿ˜€ Hopefully we can get the app done soon because it’s been ages and it’s holding us up :(

  • Yasmeen @ Wandering Spice January 23, 2012, 10:32 am

    Happy new year! I would absolutely look forward to having a bite of this – love the flavors, colors and your beautiful photograph.

  • OohLookBel January 23, 2012, 12:21 pm

    Fantastic photos; I love this spicy bean/pork dish so much! Hope you have a happy Chinese new year, Jenny.

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake January 24, 2012, 1:45 pm

      Hope you’ve had a good CNY so far too. :) I love this dish as well, can’t get enough of it!

  • Michelle chin January 23, 2012, 2:08 pm

    Lovely pictures!!! Sigh, i wish i can take pictures like these too.

    Btw, do you still you that type of knife when cooking?

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake January 24, 2012, 1:45 pm

      It’s not hard taking photos seriously…I’m still a newbie and get it wrong a lot~

      It’s my bf’s knife and YES he does use it~ haha

  • Marsha @ The Harried Cook January 23, 2012, 2:28 pm

    Happy Chinese New Year to you! :) Thank you so much for stopping by my blog… I appreciate it! This bean recipe sounds so yummy! Love the ingredients and combination of flavors… Yum! And what gorgeous pictures! Thanks for sharing :)

  • Anna @ the shady pine January 23, 2012, 6:24 pm

    Happy CNY!!! Loving these beans with the pork…this would make a really tasty dinner!

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake January 24, 2012, 1:47 pm

      Happy CNY to you too! I love this dish, one of the few Chinese dishes I can eat and not get sick of ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Cakelaw January 23, 2012, 10:02 pm

    Yummo! What a fabulous looking dish, that you have exquisitely photographed. Happy CNY!

  • GourmetGetaways January 25, 2012, 8:04 am

    I just pinned you on pin interest. I bought the pork mince yesterday so it is beans for dinner tonight http://pinterest.com/pin/154811305910663069/

    • Jenny @ Ichigo Shortcake January 28, 2012, 3:39 am

      Thanks so much for that! I don’t use Pinterest though, but maybe I should. Still getting used to all the different social media available. ๐Ÿ˜€

  • adele February 6, 2013, 11:33 am

    I just made this recipe tonight — after a wonderful culinary trip to china this may, I’ve been on the hunt for food that tastes the way it tasted in China (since I live in Montreal, Canada). This one hit. the. spot. Very spicy, very very delicious. So so so delicious. Thank you so much — this one’s going in my chinese recipe repertoire.


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