One more dish pulled out from our quick lunch menus prepared from home, delivered to office. The easy ones are mostly vegetarian stir-fry dishes.

This one is colorful and tasty with a hint of hot chili. I love biting on those chilies. Serve with steamed rice with a bowl of pork rib soup. That’s office lunch.

Stir-fry garlic and shallots with a bit of hot oil. Our home cooking use a lot more oil than necessary, I must admit. It is just the way it is done. I could complain till my lips turn blue, nobody would listen. Why go against when I could just sit quietly, enjoy the meals prepared in front of me? I do just that now.

Add a tablespoon of taoco, or fermented soy beans. The taoco has been prepped, grind coarsely in a mortar and pestle to get more texture out of it instead of just chunks of salty beans.

Season with sugar. Do not get scared, the taoco would  be extremely salty and the only way to counter-act the level of saltiness is by adding spoonful of sugar.

Add chili and tomato.

And lemongrass and salam leaves. Stir fry quickly to mix all ingredients well.

When the other ingredients have wilted slightly, add green beans.

Add water (we poured water into mortar and use that, it would be a waste to wash away the taoco leftover) to lightly cook the beans.

Taste and season with light soy sauce if needed. Cook for a minute and remove from heat.

Serve with steamed rice.


Green Beans and Taoco Stir Fry

Makes 4 servings


3 shallots, sliced thinly
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 tsp taoco (fermented soy beans)
1/2 tbsp sugar (optional)
40 g chili, sliced diagonally
1 tomato, quartered
4 salam leaves
2 stalks lemongrass, halved
250 g green beans, sliced diagonally
1 cup water
1/2 tbsp light soy sauce
1/4 cup cooking oil


Coarsely ground taoco in a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
Heat cooking oil in a wok and stir-fry shallots and garlic over high heat quickly.
Add taoco and sugar into the wok. Stir-fry for 30 seconds.
Add chili, tomato, salam leaves and lemongrass. Cook for one minute.
Combine green beans into the wok. Stir-fry quickly to combine all the ingredients for another minute.
Add water and simmer for 1 minute. Season with soy sauce if desired.
Remove from heat and serve with steamed rice.

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12 Responses to “Green Beans and Taoco Stir Fry”

  1. 1

    Lyndsey ~The Tiny Skillet~ — June 30, 2011 @ 6:41 pm

    Yum, another colorful dish, it looks so good. I wish I worked with you all and get this for lunch!

  2. 2

    Reese@SeasonWithSpice — July 1, 2011 @ 8:57 am

    Hi Jun, I know what you mean by your mom not listening when you ask her to cut the oil down – “Just the way it’s done”

    Are there traditional soy sauce (and bean paste) makers in Medan? We have a few left in Penang, but the last one in George Town (in the UNESCO World Heritage site), is unfortunately being evicted and may need to shut down within the month. It is too bad, the taste is amazing. The big corporations can’t replicate the flavor.

    Enjoy your weekend,


  3. 3

    Ira Rodrigues — July 3, 2011 @ 9:52 pm

    wah, could ask for more during my lunch too and extra pedas :)

  4. 4

    noobcook — July 4, 2011 @ 2:05 am

    I love this way of slicing the green beans. your step by step photos are always beautiful and informative, love them =)

  5. 5

    Yi @ Yi Reservation — July 5, 2011 @ 5:53 am

    I usually just eat the fermented beans with plain congee. I have never used the beans as an ingredient.

    This looks great and I’ll definitely try it out. Thanks for sharing!

  6. 6

    Lia Chen — July 6, 2011 @ 3:43 am

    Oh Jun! Your yummy pictures always make me drool. I can imagine the crunchiness of the green beans and the smell of the taoco (^.^)

  7. 7

    kankana — July 6, 2011 @ 1:49 pm

    This looks so delicious .. i am drooling at all the spice combination you used. With lemon grass .. yummy!

  8. 8

    Lisa H. — July 7, 2011 @ 3:00 am

    ooohhh… so nice to go with hot steamed rice… could almost taste the beans…
    as always… beautiful clicks :D

  9. 9

    Emilia — July 9, 2011 @ 4:11 am

    Gorgeously looking dish, as usual. I love the combination of spices and I have to admit I am so jealous that you can find so many lovely spices.

  10. 10

    Nami @ Just One Cookbook — July 11, 2011 @ 2:43 am

    What a colorful and beautiful dish! I love lemongrass although I’ve never used in my cooking. This flavor must be so delicious.

  11. 11

    Deborah — July 11, 2011 @ 1:31 pm

    What a gorgeous dish!

  12. 12

    asianfoodophile — August 9, 2011 @ 4:58 pm

    I wonder whether soaking tamarind in one cup of water and strain the tamarind water to add for simmering to give the dish a slightly sourish flavor will make it more appetizing for those who like sourish dishes..

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