I was first introduced to dry fried green beans several years ago by my dear friend SBG who is a vegetarian (but I love her anyway. JK – I actually eat vegetarian much of the time, I just like to poke fun at her non-existent flaws). I immediately fell in love. With the beans, not SBG, although she is pretty awesome…
A slightly tatty bunch of green beans in my fridge quickly losing their youthful splendor inspired me to attempt a recreation of the dish. Taking my own liberties though, of course. I googled several recipes and then cobbled together my own thing. Here’s what I did:
Washed and trimmed ends and yucky spots from a bunch of fresh-ish green beans. I don’t see how this dish would work with frozen or, shudder, canned, but I guess you could try it. Dried them off and cut them into ~2-inch-long pieces. Heated some light oil in a wok, but a sautee pan would work too. I’m even tempted to try broiling these in the oven, but then I guess the name would be false advertising as they would no longer be technically “fried”. But anyway, then I cooked the beans in the oil over high heat until they started to look crispy and brown in spots. That’s flavor baby! Then I added in some chopped garlic, ginger, green onions and a spoonful of sambal olek (chili sauce, great condiment, get it). Stirred that around for a couple of minutes until everything smelled amazing and then finished it off with some soy sauce and a dash of mirin (sweet cooking wine; I don’t usually stock this condiment, the bottle was bought on accident when I was trying to get some rice vinegar, but I have come to like it. Great way to add a touch of sweetness to a dish to balance flavours). Not too much on the liquids, you don’t want mushy beans, just a little sauce to coat everything. Done!
My sweetie and I gobbled this up straight from the serving bowl as an appetizer before our tofu and vegetable fried rice (recipe here). As we snacked, we dreamed of other veg we could cook with this same technique – broccoli, asparagus, snow peas, who knows what else! Plenty of opportunity for improvisation.