Wok-fried green beans and chikuwa fishcakes recipe

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A super-fast stir-fry using Chikuwa fishcake, Japanese mayonnaise and tobanjan. Also known as ‘doubanjiang’, tobanjan is a chilli bean paste from Sichuan Province, China, but the Japanese have adopted it as their own. Unlike other chilli sauces, tobanjan is made from fermented soy and broad (fava) beans with added chillies, salt and other spices, so it is richer in umami and full of flavour. The combination of tobanjan, Japanese mayonnaise and chikuwa fishcakes delivers maximum flavour with minimal effort in this dish.

  • Yield: 4 Servings


  • ½ quantity Japanese Kewpie-style mayonnaise  or 4 tbsp Japanese mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp tobanjan chilli bean paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 9 oz (250 g) fine green beans, tailed
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil, plus 1 tsp to drizzle
  • 2 cm (¾ inch) piece of root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 red chilli, finely diced
  • 3½ oz (100 g) Japanese Chikuwa fishcakes, cut into thin slices
  • 1 tsp toasted white sesame seeds
How to Make It
  1. Prepare the Japanese Kewpie-style Mayonnaise or use ready made Japanese mayonnaise. To this add the tobanjan chilli bean paste and half of the chopped garlic, mix well and set aside.
  2. Blanch the green beans in plenty of boiling salted water for 1 minute, drain and plunge into a bowl filled with chilled water. Drain, pat dry and cut the beans in half midway.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp of sesame oil in a wok until hot, add the remaining chopped garlic, along with the ginger and chilli and fry for about 10 seconds until fragrant. Add the Japanese fishcakes and fry, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes until they are lightly coloured but not crispy.
  4. Now add the green beans and stir-fry until they start to blister, this should take 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  5. Take the wok off the hot hob (stove) and add the spicy mayo a couple of tablespoons at a time. If the wok is too hot it will curdle the mayo. Fold the mayo into the dish until the beans and fishcakes are completely coated, adding more mayo if necessary.
  6. Transfer to a serving dish, drizzle a little toasted sesame oil over, finish with a generous sprinkle of white sesame seeds and serve immediately.

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