Stir Fried Green Beans with Ginger and Onions

Do you like green beans? I love them in stir fries, especially fresh, crisp, tender green beans. How do you know your green beans are fresh? Break one in half. It should “snap”. If it bends limply like a rubber band, it’s not fresh. Only buy fresh. This stir fry cooks up quickly, with onions, ginger, and garlic, and a sauce of sweetened soy sauce with sesame oil. It couldn’t be easier. Just make sure you are using fresh and tender beans. (Older tougher beans won’t be cooked enough in the time it takes to make this stir fry.)

  • Prep: 15 minutes
  • Cook: 7 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 3-4 as a side dish.

This recipe results in green beans that still have a bit of crunch to them. If you want your beans more cooked, blanch them first for a minute or two in boiling water, then rinse with cold water to stop the cooking, then pat dry with paper towels before putting the beans in the hot pan and oil. Because of the quick cooking time, this recipe is best done with fresh beans (the ones that snap as you break them in half).

Ingredients

  • 2 to 3 Tbsp canola or other high smoke point oil
  • 1/2 pound to 3/4 pound of fresh, tender, crisp green beans, cut into 1 1/2 to 2 inch pieces
  • 1 small yellow or white onion, sliced root to stem (see how to slice an onion), about 1 cup of sliced onion
  • 1 ounce of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks (see how to peel and cut ginger)
  • 1 large garlic clove, sliced very thin
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce (use gluten-free soy sauce for gluten-free version)
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • A generous pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Method

1 Heat a wok or large frying pan over high heat on the hottest burner you have for about 90 seconds. Add the vegetable oil and let it heat up until shimmery. (Toss a sliver of onion into the oil when you think it's hot. If the oil is hot enough, the onion will sizzle.)

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2 Add the cut green beans, sliced onions and julienned ginger and toss to combine. Break up any clumps of sliced onion that might have stuck together. Spread everything out in the pan and let it sear untouched for anywhere from 30-90 seconds, you want to get a little browning on the vegetables. Stir the vegetables and let sit for another 30-90 seconds. Add the sliced garlic, stir again and cook for another minute.

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3 Mix the soy sauce and sugar together and pour into the pan. Turn off the heat and immediately toss the vegetables to combine. The sauce will start to caramelize and may burn unless you keep everything moving for a few seconds. Pour the sesame oil over the green beans and onions and sprinkle with black pepper. Toss to combine one more time. Serve immediately or let rest and serve at room temperature. The beans should still be somewhat crisp. They will cook a little more in the residual heat of the pan or serving dish.

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