Monday, October 19, 2009

Recipe for the World's Easiest Garlicky Green Beans Stir Fry

Garlicky Green Beans Stir FryBeans are one of those plants that don't get too much respect from me in the garden. I find them hard to keep picked, and truthfully, sometimes I end up with overgrown beans I have to throw away. I also notice I don't think of beans as a summertime food in the same way I do things like tomatoes and zucchini, so when I'm wondering what to cook, beans are less likely to pop into my mind. Hopefully next summer when I"m thinking of beans I can remember this garlicky green beans stir fry, because I could eat beans every day if they were cooked like this.

This recipe was adapted from Cooking from the Heart: The Hmong Kitchen in America, a great cookbook that was sent to me by the publisher. The recipe was in the "cooking for a crowd" section of the book and made 25 servings! I only had about a pound of beans left in the garden, so obviously I had to cut it down quite a bit. You've probably had stir-fried green beans at your favorite Chinese restaurant, but this has to be one of the easiest recipe around for this type of dish, only six ingredients, plus a bit of water! I decided to call it "World's Easiest" Garlicky Green Beans Stir Fry after I thought about how easy it was, although it's just called Garlicky Green Bean Stir Fry in the book. Once again, I used the principles I learned in a Chinese cooking class many years ago:

Principles of Chinese Cooking
  1. Preheat the wok (before you put the oil in.)
  2. Season the oil (with whole pieces of garlic and sometimes ginger root, which you often remove when you add the food to be cooked.)
  3. Symmetry of cut (all pieces must be cut the same size and shape.)
  4. Have all ingredients cut and sauces mixed before you cook.
  5. Use very high heat and cook fast.

Here's how much I got when I picked the very last of the green beans from my garden. This year I planted bush beans (they grow on a bush instead of on vines) and they were a variety called French beans. This type was a big improvement over the beans I've grown in the past, because the beans grow at the top of the plant so they're easier to keep picked.

I like to trim the beans and cut them into the length I want before I wash them in the salad spinner, because garden veggies can be pretty dirty. In this case I cut the beans about 2 inches long. After I had trimmed them and washed them, I had just under a pound of green beans.

Start by heating the wok or pan over very high heat for 1-2 minutes, then add oil and heat about 30 seconds more, then stir fry the onions and garlic for about 20-30 seconds. (In this recipe the garlic is kept in the dish, which is a slight variation from the Chinese cooking principles.)

Then add the beans and a bit of salt and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring several times.

Add a tablespoon of water, cover and let the beans steam for about 5 minutes. (I peeked once to see if it needed more water, and added about a teaspoon more.)

After they've been steamed, the beans and onions will be looking a lot more done, like this.

Stir in the oyster sauce and stir-fry about 2 minutes more, until all the beans are well-coated with sauce. The beans should still have a slight crunch when they're done.

World's Easiest Garlicky Green Beans Stir Fry
(Makes about 4 side dish servings, recipe adapted from Cooking from the Heart: The Hmong Kitchen in America.)

1 lb. fresh green beans (preferably long thin "French" beans, but any type will work)
2 T peanut oil
2 T chopped garlic
1/2 large yellow onion, cut in half top-to-bottom and then into slivers the same size as the beans (next time I'd probably just use the whole onion)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 T water (plus a bit more if you check and the pan seems dry)
2 T oyster sauce (comes in a bottle near the Asian foods in any major supermarket)

Trim both ends of green beans. (I do this by taking a handful of beans, standing them up in my hand, loosely enough that they fall down to the cutting board and ends line up, trim that end, the turn over and line up the other side and trim.) Cut green beans into 2 inch lengths, wash, and spin dry or dry with paper towels. (Purchased beans may not need washing.)

Heat the wok or a heavy frying pan over high heat for 1-2 minutes, until it's too hot to hold your hand over it. Add the oil and heat about 30 seconds more, then add the garlic and onion slivers and cook for 20-30 seconds, stirring the whole time.

Add beans and salt and cook about 2 minutes, stirring several times. Then add water, cover wok, and let beans steam for 5 minutes. (I checked once to see if the pan seemed dry and added about 1 tsp. more water.)

Uncover the pan and add oyster sauce, then cook 2 minutes more, stirring so all the beans are uniformly covered with the sauce. Beans should still be slightly crisp when they're done. Serve hot.

This can be kept in the refrigerator for a day or two and reheated in the microwave, but you probably won't have any left over.


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South Beach Suggestions:
This low-glycemic vegetable dish is perfect for any phase of the South Beach Diet. If your store has several brands of Oyster Sauce, choose the one with the lowest amount of sugar.

More Vegetable Stir-Fry Dishes
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Garlic-Lover's Vegetable Stir Fry with Eggplant, Zucchini, and Yellow Squash from Kalyn's Kitchen
Stir-Fried Greens with Lemon, Parmesan, and Pine Nuts from Kalyn's Kitchen
Green Bean Stir Fry from Nook and Pantry
Stir Fry with Spicy Green Beans and Pork Sausage from The Inquisitive Palate
Cantonese Green Bean Stir Fry from Kathleen's Vegetarian Kitchen
Stir Fried Green Beans and Aburaage (fried tofu skins) from Just Bento
Sichuan Dry Fried Green Beans from Appetite for China
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)
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37 comments:

Katerina said...

This looks good Kalyn. I totally agree with you about beans though. I grow peas (which I consider totally worth it) but almost never even cook with beans cause I don't love them. However I love asian green beans and frequently order them in restaurants. I can totally see myself making this (and maybe adding some chilies!)

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

I've been waiting for this recipe! I've got a bunch of beans from the farm that I blanched and froze. A little garlic and stir fry would be the perfect preparation.

Barbara Bakes said...

Now this is a veggie recipe that I could love!

Jenn@slim-shoppin said...

Green beans are my all time favorite!!

Thanks for this recipe, I can't wait to make it!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I love this cookbook, too, though I don't think I've made one single recipe exactly the way it's written. But that's the mark of a good book; it inspires and gives you the confidence to delve into a new cuisine.

Cookin' Canuck said...

What a delicious, easy recipe! I am a sucker for anything with oyster sauce and garlic.

The Culinary Chase said...

Kalyn, this is my favorite Chinese way of preparing string beans. So delicious, simple & the beans are al dente. Beautiful!

Michelle said...

Nope, doubting any leftovers! If so, these would be easy to eat cold on a salad or toss into lots of other quick meals.

Easy recipes said...

One of my favorite things is Green Beans , and I always happy to learn new recipes.

JulieM. said...

I made these tonight and the whole family liked them. Used canola as I didn't have peanut oil. They were great. Next time will add shrimp or chicken. Great really easy recipe. Thanks.

Kalyn said...

Julie, so glad you liked the recipe. Love the idea of adding shrimp or chicken too. I'll edit to give canola oil as an option (I almost said that, but I hate to say it when I haven't tried it!)

Amanda said...

Looks fabulous. I love green beans, I usually grill them in foil pockets with butter, garlic and seasonings. Love stir frys too, this really looks great!

Joanne said...

I rarely cook green beans either, mainly because they have are usually so thoroughly mediocre. This recipe looks great though. Full of flavor!

Julia said...

This recipe looks great! I think this is the second mention of that cookbook I've seen this week, and I think I must purchase it now!

I've tried growing beans every year with not much luck. I'll have to bookmark this to remember to try bush beans next year.

Kalyn said...

Amanda, I'm intrigued by the idea of grilled beans in foil. Must try that next summer when I have a surplus of beans!

Joanne, this has now become my go-to recipe for green beans (although I do like roasted beans for Thanksgiving too!)

Julia, I really like the book. Lots of interesting ideas.

myfrenchkitchen said...

your stir fry looks delicious. I have to say, green beans are a staple in this house, I love them every way they come!
Ronelle

Jana said...

That looks yummy; I'll definitely try it!

My favorite way to cook beans (so far) is so easy it could hardly be called a recipe. But don't be fooled by how simple it sounds.

I steam green beans until they're just done. Then, using the emptied pan the water was in, I melt a little salted butter and add some olive oil and pine nuts to your taste. (I like a lot!) Cook those just a minute or so - longer if you want to toast the pine nuts -- then add the green beans into the pan and stir till coated. Serve hot.

If you're butter-phobic, you could just use olive oil and a little salt. But I think the butter is key to the flavor, and it doesn't take much.

Lyn said...

LOL... my husband planted a huge plot of green beans this summer and SO MANY of them just got left to grow huge and never got picked. And I have a huge, Costco sized bag of green beans in the freezer annoying me because they are getting old and freezer burned but I don't want to waste them. (What can I say, green beans aren't my thing). I am going to make a batch of this recipe using them. If they turn out yummy, I might finally get to use up that bag of icy beans! Thanks.

Kalyn said...

Ronelle, I know green beans are so healthy, I'm trying to work on my appreciation for them, and this recipe is helping!

Jana, thanks for sharing! Sounds delicious,and I'm not butter phobic, especially like this where it's just a flavoring.

Lyn, hopefully this will help you make friends with your beans!

Anonymous said...

It has been so long since I heard the word "Hmong" and "cooking" in one sentence. That doesn't sound like a typical Hmong dish, but I wouldn't mind trying it out.

Have you ever had just steamed green beans dipped in hot chili and garlic pepper sauce? It is so good and so very healthy.

Thank you for making me feel hungry for thoughts again. :)

Chris C said...

Thank you! I always make my green beans 1 of 2 ways...steamed plain or my family's favorite - Bacon Beans. Fry 6 slices bacon, remove and and chop into pieces when cool. Drain pan of all but 3 tbs. bacon grease. Sautee red onion in bacon grease, add green beans to the pan until done, toss in bacon and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve. Pretty standard stuff but oh-so-good.

Kevin said...

Garlicky green beans would be a welcome addition to any meal!

Rhapsody said...

Hi Kalyn -- made several of your dishes for Thanksgiving. All were good, but these green beans were a favorite! So easy to make too. Thanks for the recipes!

Kalyn said...

Rhapsody, thanks. It's always so nice to hear that something was a hit.

badabingsavings! said...

I just discovered your blog last night and LOVE it! I made the World's Easiet Grlicky Green Beans & Sauteed Chicken w/Tarragon-Mustard Pan Sauce and it was a HIT! Tomorrow I am trying a new recipe! Thanks so much.
A fan in Nashville

ensign-beedrill said...

Gee thanks... I nearly took down the apartment complex. O.o

So I heated up the pan and then dropped the oil in. It bubbled for a second then burst into flames! Luckily I had the lid out already and my elementary school education to fall back on and quickly dropped the lid on the pan and removed it from the burner. Smoke alarms went off, but the crisis was averted.

My fault, though. I used olive oil and apparently it has a lower fire point than peanut oil. But never ever am I doing that again!

I did manage to get the beans made, though, and they were pretty good (used soy sauce instead of oyster sauce). And the yelp I made when I saw a huge fire spontaneously erupt in my pan was pretty good, too!

Kalyn said...

I would never use olive oil for stir-frying, and if you had used oyster sauce like the recipe calls for they would have been "really" good instead of "pretty" good. Glad the story had a good outcome though!

ensign-beedrill said...

Yeah, I'm pretty hapless when it comes to cooking (as you may have inferred). You're right about the sauce, but I'm a bit of a cheapskate and never have anyone else to cook for, so I don't like to buy ingredients that I'll hardly ever use. Had some soy sauce in the fridge I needed to get rid of.

I really don't comment often enough, but I really need to thank you for your blog. I've found so much good stuff here.

Kalyn said...

Glad you have been enjoying the recipes. Oyster sauce is pretty versatile; you can use it to stir-fry lots of different veggies and it always turns out good! And it sounds like you're learning to cook (you did learn about the low smoke-point of olive oil from this experiment!) Thanks for commenting, always appreciate hearing from the people who are reading!

Lorena said...

Just made this for my boyfriend and it was absolutely delicious! I put the green beans over some white rice and threw some crunchy chow mein noodles on top. Also, we love our food spicy so I added some garlic chili paste to the oyster sauce. I absolutely love this recipe!

Kalyn said...

Lorena, glad you enjoyed this as much as I did!

Superfizzio said...

Katlyn,

Is this phase 1 friendly?

Kalyn Denny said...

If you look under "South Beach Suggestions" (right after the printer friendly link) every recipe will tell you what phase I think it can be used for.

Cyndi said...

Kalyn, Don's allergic to shellfish, so oyster sauce is out. Do you recommend a replacement? Soy, maybe? I love fresh green beans, and this could be a new way for me.

Kalyn Denny said...

I think Hoisin or regular soy sauce would both work. Hope you enjoy!

Deven said...

Just got back from selling veggies at a farmers market and had leftover beans so I decided this would be a great time to try this recipe. I had to use what I had on hand so I used soy sauce. I also sliced some green zucchini and yellow squash and added them right at the end, delicious! I will definitely make these again - I'll try it with oyster sauce next time. Thanks!

Kalyn Denny said...

Deven, glad you enjoyed it!

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