Have you ever cooked with Chinese Long Beans instead of regular green beans? They are actually part of the same plant family as the black-eyed pea, but look more like very long green beans and hold up better under high heat, making them perfect for stir fries.
You can buy Chinese Long Beans in Asian markets and some supermarkets that carry a wide variety of produce. These were in a box of Asian produce sent to me from Melissa’s Produce sent me for Chinese New Year. I was tempted to make one of my favorite Chinese dishes: Green Beans with ground pork, but having gotten hold of three mouthwatering flavors of a fabulous new condiment called “Not Ketchup”, created by mom, friend, blogger and entrepreneur, Erika Kerekes of In Erika’s Kitchen, I decided to do a riff on a meatless Kung Pao using “Not Ketchup” as a base for the sauce instead of the normal high sodium soy-based sauce, and with cashews instead of peanuts to make it Paleo friendly. Naturally sweet from sun-ripened California dates combined with aromatic smoked paprika, Smoky Date “Not Ketchup”, a touch of tamarind paste as a tart counterpoint and coconut aminos for umami flavor proved to be a deliciously nuanced substitute for soy sauce.
Every bottle of “Not Ketchup” is filled with ripe fruit, fresh onions, pure apple cider vinegar and natural sweetener. No processed sugar, no artificial flavors or colors, and absolutely no preservatives. The use of the name “ketchup” is FDA regulated and must contain tomatoes – thus the name “Not Ketchup”. The only thing about these sauces that resembles ketchup is it’s consistency, but it rises above ketchup in flavor, complexity, and versatility. Let your imagination run wild with the likes of Cherry Chipotle, Blueberry White Pepper and Smoky Date. I’m definitely going to be pairing the Cherry Chipotle with lamb chops or pork and adding its cherry-ific flavor to a BBQ sauce. The Blueberry White Pepper takes blueberries to the savory side with a touch of mustard and a little kick of white pepper and I can’t shake the image of a gooey grilled cheese slathered with Blueberry Not Ketchup!
- 1 lb. Chinese Long Beans (fresh green beans may be substituted)
- 1 tablespoons organic coconut oil
- ⅛ teaspoon red chile flakes
- ½ cup unsalted raw cashews
- 1 tablespoon Smoky Date "Not Ketchup"
- ½ teaspoon tamarind paste*
- 1 teaspoon coconut aminos*
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 large shallot, halved lengthwise, then very thinly sliced crosswise (1/2 cup)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Cook untrimmed beans in a 6- to 8-quart pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 3 to 5 minutes (only 3 minutes for regular green beans). Transfer with tongs to a large bowl of ice and cold water to stop cooking, then drain in a colander and pat dry with paper towels. Trim the beans and cut crosswise into ¾-inch pieces.
- Meanwhile, pulse cashews in a food processor until about half are finely ground and remainder are in very large pieces (do not grind to a paste).
- Stir together Smoky Date "Not Ketchup", coconut aminos, and tamarind paste. Use a spoon to break up the tamarind paste.
- Heat wok over high heat until a bead of water dropped onto cooking surface evaporates immediately. Add oil, swirling to coat wok, then add garlic and chile flakes and stir-fry until garlic begins to turn pale golden, about 5 seconds. Add cashews and stir-fry until golden, about 30 seconds. Add beans, and stir-fry until hot and well coated, about 2 minutes. Remove wok from heat, stir in shallots, then add Not Ketchup mixture. Drizzle with lime juice and transfer to a bowl.
*Coconut Aminos can be purchased in natural food stores and are the best alternative I've found to soy sauce.
*Tamarind paste is available at Asian or Indian markets.
The idea for Not Ketchup came to Erika last summer. Tired of making jam, she decided to turn a pound of ripe plums into a sort of ketchup. Vinegar, onions, sugar, spices…the resulting sauce was tangy and delicious with a peppery kick. She imagine it slathered on roast chicken, dolloped on a burger, pooled next to a plate of french fries and on and on. But to actually take this idea, experiment, develop it and bring it to market in less than a year – just call her Superwoman!
Erika launched her new Not Ketchup line at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco in January. Read what the LA Times had to say about her awesome sauce:
“Kerekes last week unveiled a new line of sweet-and-savory condiments. The texture will remind you of ketchup, but the flavors are something else entirely: chipotle cherry, blueberry white pepper and a smokey date.
They can be used for just about everything: Spicing up a rotisserie chicken, accenting a grilled cheese sandwich or cheese plate, or slathering on burgers”.
The “Not Ketchup” dipping sauces are on the shelves at several top stores, including Bob’s Market and Wine Expo in Santa Monica, Artisan Cheese Gallery in Studio City, Luna Garcia in Venice and Busters Baskets & Flowers in Culver City.