Hey everyone! It’s Kevin here today with a delicious yet simple recipe for Chinese stir-fried green beans!
At the end of a long day, all I want to do is eat green beans.Sierra Park
Sierra LOVES green beans. So much so that since I started making this recipe, we’ve eaten green beans every day for a week straight. To be honest though, I hated green beans as a kid. Unlike bok choy, green beans were one of those vegetables I’d never touch unless my mom forced me. However, working on this recipe completely changed my perception of green beans. These Chinese stir-fried green beans are so simple, but I used a few techniques to try to make them as flavorful and authentic as possible.
How to Make Green Beans Taste Good
After I started working on this recipe, I quickly realized that the reason my green beans didn’t taste good was because they were lacking seasoning. While I was adding soy sauce at the end, the green beans just didn’t have enough flavor. Luckily, I was reading Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat at the time which gave me a few ideas as to how I could improve the flavor.
In particular, I realized I needed to add a non-trivial amount of salt to the water during the boiling step of cooking the green beans. This way, through diffusion, the salt would make its way through the skin of the green beans. This simple change vastly improved the flavor of the green beans. Now you could taste the salt throughout the entire green bean, not just on the surface.
Another simple change I made was adding the soy sauce along the sides of my wok (instead of straight in the center) and letting it sizzle a bit before mixing it into the beans. I remember reading this tip in an article by J. Kenji López-Alt, where he suggested that adding soy sauce like this would impart that Authentic smoky soy sauce flavor commonly found in hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurants (a large component of the elusive wok hei flavor). I tried it for myself in this recipe and found that it really did make a world of difference!
Adding the soy sauce directly to the center of the green beans resulted in green beans that tasted like soy sauce, whereas adding it to the sides yielded green beans that tasted distinctly “stir-fried”. A bonus of this method is that your house will also smell like a Chinese restaurant.
With just these two tips, I was able to transform my bland and one-dimensional green beans into a flavorful dish. The best part was that it didn’t require any additional ingredients or equipment, just a simple change in technique.
Now you’re ready to make your own savory Chinese stir-fried green beans!
Looking for Chinese dishes to eat this with?
- Chinese Braised Pork Belly (Hong Shao Rou)
- Authentic Chinese Scallion Pancake
- Sticky Braised Chinese Chicken Wings
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