Spicy Szechuan Green Beans are inspired by many plates of a similar dish I had in China. These spicy, sweet, crunchy green beans hardly resemble any other green beans I’ve tried. They are fantastic served simply over rice or as a side dish to other Asian-inspired dishes.
Recipe Inspiration = Snacks
A confession. What I eat when I’m alone can rarely be defined as “a meal”. I think others of you are with me in this.
I lived alone for years and (oddly) during that time I ate a “real” dinner most every night. Relatively well-rounded, and always served on a plate, I never understood what people were talking about when they discussed the strange habits of people who eat alone.
And then I got married, and it all changed. When Frank and I are together for dinner, which is most all the time, we eat, well…you already know what we eat. We eat what you see on the pages of this blog. Lately, we often eat some variation on this.
But when Frank leaves town, I’m all over the place. Some of it is the reality of wanting to test recipes so that I can write about them. Nights when I’m home alone are good for trying new things that may or may not work and to play around in the kitchen. (Particularly when the internet is down and I have no idea how to fix it. Frank left on Sunday night and first thing Monday I woke up to no internet. Hrmph.)
Spicy Szechuan Green Beans
What you see here is the most stand-up “meal” I ate while Frank was out of town this week. One entire pound of green beans. I had such a strong craving for these very specific Szechuan-inspired green beans that I stopped at the grocery store on my way home just to buy a bunch of beans. These green beans, I assure you, are not like any others you may have had. They are crunchy, and spicy, and a tiny bit sweet, and the fact that they are chopped into small pieces makes them perfect to scoop up and eat with rice.
Perhaps a mound of chopped green beans are a passable dinner, but what if I told you that I also cooked and ate these green beans not one, but two mornings this week for breakfast, while photographing them in early morning light?
What about you? What do you eat when you’re alone?
Anyone else eat strange things for breakfast in the name of blogging?
Crunchy Szechuan Green Beans
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1- inch knob of fresh ginger, minced (should equal about 2 teaspoons)
- 2 Tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (this will be spicy - reduce, if you prefer less spice)
- 1 Tablespoon sunflower oil
- 1 pound green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces and rubbed dry with a towel
- Whisk together the first seven ingredients (through crushed red pepper) in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Heat the sunflower oil in a wok or heavy-bottomed saute pan over medium-high heat. Just when the sunflower oil begins to shimmer, add the green beans and sauté, stirring constantly, until they begin to blacken in small spots, about 3 minutes. (Note: Be careful when adding the green beans to the pan, as they should sizzle and pop a bit if the oil is hot enough. This process should go very quickly, with the green beans retaining a bright green color, even though they will start to blacken a bit in spots.)
- Add the sauce to the pan, stirring to coat the green beans. Cook just until the sauce reduces slightly, about 2 minutes.
- Serve immediately, on their own, or over rice.