January 18, 2011

Spicy Green Beans!

For a really long time - let's call it forty years, give or take - I didn't eat green beans. The green beans of my youth came from a can, were a drab olive colour, and had a thoroughly objectionable texture. I still recall the revulsion excited by the sensation of the outer layer of the bean sliding off the 'meat' of the bean as my tongue pushed it against my teeth. *shudder* Blagh! Ick. I remember at least two occasions on which I sat at the dinner table until bedtime, sobbing and struggling to swallow my beans. It was my experience with green beans that made me determined never to have that kind of food battle with my own children, should I have any. (And I don't, so that's a non-issue entirely.)

So. I didn't eat green beans for a long time. And then, about a year ago, I discovered the delicious delicious wonder that is Spicy Green Beans. Or Szechwan Green Beans. When they're on the menu in a restaurant - and you don't have to be in a Szechwan restaurant to get them, these days - I order them.

And tonight, I made them. For dinner. With chicken, for some protein. Google found me this recipe, which I will reprint here so you can read it and look at the lovely lovely photo and be jealous of my yummy dinner.

Spicy Green Beans & Chicken
Szechuan Green Beans

These beans are "dry-fried," a Szechuan cooking technique that makes them extra tender. The recipe calls for Chinese longbeans, but you can use haricots verts, green beans or runner beans. The recipe normally calls for chili peppers, but I've used chili paste - feel free to substitute dried red chilis if desired. Serves 4.

Prep Time: 10 minutes, Cook Time: 10 minutes, Total Time: 20 minutes.


  • 1 pound Chinese longbeans (also called yardlong beans or just longbeans)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, chopped
  • 2 scallions (spring onions, green onions), white parts only
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili paste
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Pepper to taste, optional
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil for stir-frying, or as needed


Wash the longbeans, drain thoroughly, and trim the tops and bottoms.
Cut the longbeans on the diagonal into slices approximately 2 inches long.
Chop the garlic, ginger and white part of the scallions.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the longbeans and stir-fry until they start to shrivel or "pucker" and turn brown (5 - 7 minutes). Remove the long beans and drain in a colander or on paper towels.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in the wok on high heat. Add the garlic, ginger and scallions. Stir-fry for a few seconds, then add the chili paste and stir-fry for a few more seconds until aromatic. Add the longbeans and the remaining ingredients. Mix together and serve.
Serving suggestion: Szechuan Green Beans would make an excellent side dish to accompany Mapo Tofu.


  1. We went to a Perkins recently and had their deep fried green bean starter. I ordered it mainly because - WTF? Deep fried green beans? You know what though? They were kick ass. Came with a spicy dipping sauce. TASTY! Now yours sound even better. Plus any excuse to use fresh ginger is fine by me.

  2. Deep fried green beans? Wow, that would have been interesting.

    Fresh ginger is love.

  3. I was also a green-bean hater until I found a recipe for sauteing them in butter with...err...something...yours look delicious! Taming the green bean!

  4. They were really really yummy. I hope they reheat well, because I have the leftovers for lunch today. :D