Sep 18, 2014

ASIAN Hoppin' John

Asian Hoppin' John with Snow Peas
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You see, I grew up in the Southern part of the U.S. mainland where they serve fresh black eyed peas and rice called "Hoppin’John". Who knows where the name came from, but basically it's simply black eyed peas (or field peas) mixed with rice, bacon, and onions, but there are many other versions, including this one born out of necessity because you can't get fresh black eyed peas on Moloka'i, only dried or canned. Naturally being a Southern boy I had to come up with an alternative solution for the food I grew up with.

In the Philippines yard-long beans are called pole sitao, and sometimes the beans inside of these long pods are separated from the pod and are cooked with other vegetables. There's a Filipino lady down at the Moloka'i farmer's market named Lina, right in front of American Savings Bank, on Saturday morning that occasionally sells these beans in little zip-loc bags. She always waves at me when she sees me coming, to let me know she has the beans I like. They are not black eyed peas but they come close. They are not mushy like black eyed peas, instead these tough, slightly bitter, little beans have an attitude... I like that! Anyway here's my recipe for my new Moloka'i comfort food, ASIAN Hoppin' John.

Side Note: In the South, it is believed that black eyed peas are supposed to bring you luck if you eat them on New Year’s Day, I know that this Asian version will measure up, if you believe in that kind of stuff.

ASIAN Hoppin' John
1/3 pound bacon, cut in small pieces
1 celery stalk, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups of yard long beans separated from the pod
1 bay leaf
1 heaping teaspoon oyster sauce
Salt to taste
2 cups long-grain rice, not sticky short grain rice

Cook the bacon pieces slowly in a medium pot over medium-low heat. Once the bacon is crispy, increase the heat to medium-high and add the celery, onion, and red pepper and sauté until they begin to brown, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, stir well and cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Add the beans, bay leaf, and oyster sauce and cover with 4 cups of water. Cook for 30 minutes to an hour, or longer if needed, until the beans are tender.

While the beans are cooking, cook the long-grain rice separately according to package instructions.

When the beans are tender, strain out the remaining cooking water. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Taste the beans for salt, add more if needed.

When you are ready to serve, mix the rice with the beans in a large bowl. Serve with tatsoi (read about this new spinach on this site), or snow peas. Makes 4-6 side dish servings.

Note: Replace the bacon with roasted pork belly, cut into small pieces, or serve this dish as a side with roasted rosemary pork ribs. You won't be sorry.

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