Suan Jiangdòu


Long beans are fermented then used in this flavor-packed dish that's nothing like you've ever tasted



In my “Have You Heard of These 5 Fermented Foods from Around the World?” series, I tried a new Chinese recipe called suan jiangdòu, or fermented long beans. This dish was unlike most things I’ve eaten, and I loved its crunchy texture and flavor.

This suan jiangdòu recipe came from Alex, who is originally from China and now resides in Canada. This pickle is a versatile dish, and it can be found almost everywhere throughout China. From fancy restaurants to street vendors, fermented long beans are a delicacy beloved by many in Alex’s country. Throughout his childhood, Alex ate suanjiangdòu often, and he still enjoys this traditional Chinese food today. 

Strong flavors, such as long beans, garlic, carrot, ginger, peppercorns, chili, and salt, come through beautifully. The long bean is a type of cow bean with a really long pod; be sure to eat the pod and the bean together when you make your own suan jiangdòu! It provides the delicious crunch suan jiangdòu is known for. This dish also goes well with many other foods. For instance, it can be used as a condiment for noodles, rice, or congee, and it can sometimes be used as a singular ingredient in other dishes. 

I want to note that the jar of long beans became very cloudy during the fermentation process, and this is normal! Don’t fret that you’ve done anything wrong when you see this, because you’re doing great. The long bean also smells a little funky from the fermentation, but the final product was incredible. I found long beans at a Korean grocery store near me, but if you have an Asian supermarket nearby, I’m sure you’ll find them. They definitely stand out due to their great length! 

This spectacular suan jiangdòu recipe included a passive fermentation process where you set it and forget it, which is one of my favorite ways to cook. The dish itself was easy and delicious, so I hope you’ll try Alex’s favorite childhood food and let us know what you think! 

Watch the Video

Suan Jiangdòu


To ferment cowpea

  • 400 g cowpea (long beans)
  • 1 carrot peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 10 red chilis
  • 1 small piece ginger
  • 1 tsp sichuan peppercorns
  • 750 g water
  • 23 g salt

For stir-fry

  • 400 g fermented cowpea
  • 1 green onion finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 1 slice ginger can use the leftover fermented ginger or fresh
  • 1 chicken leg minced
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • tsp five-spice powder
  • 1 tsp regular soy sauce
  • ½ tsp dark soy sauce
  • ½ tsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 Tbsp dried chili
  • 1 tsp broad bean chili sauce
  • oil for stir-frying


Ferment cowpeas

  • Add cowpeas to a large mason jar. Layer remaining fermenting ingredients on top. You can use a stone to make sure all the ingredients stay submerged in the water.
  • Ferment at room temperature for 7-10 days.

To make the stir-fry

  • Chop the fermented cowpea into tiny pieces, about ¼ inch long. Finely chop the ginger. Set both aside.
  • To the minced chicken add the white pepper, five-spice, both types of soy sauce, and cornstarch. Combine well. Add 2 Tbsp oil and stir to combine.
  • Heat oil in a wok. Once hot, add the chicken mixture. Cook, breaking chicken up into bits until fully cooked through. Remove from wok and set aside.
  • Heat a little more oil in the same wok. Add dried chilis and fry for one minute before adding garlic, ginger, green onion, and broad bean chili sauce. Stir-fry till fragrant.
  • Add cowpeas and chicken. Stir fry 1-2 minutes or until flavors come together.
  • Serve warm over cooked white rice!


Course: Dinner, Lunch
Region: Asia


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