The dry-fried restaurant style green beans is traditional to Sichuan cuisine. I tend to cook this dish when we have guests over or during holidays. It tastes and looks great but it requires frying so it’s not very calorie friendly as an everyday dish for me. Frying significantly reduces the amount of time required for green beans to be cooked through, and dries all the moisture. This results in the green beans being soft to the bite and shiny looking.
Alternatively, you can use half the oil and reduce the heat to medium-low to slowly cook green beans through. With less oil, it takes much longer for the green bean surface to produce the desired wrinkly look. It also requires consistent stirring to prevent green beans from getting burned.
The sauce adds fantastic flavor to the dish, making it full of aroma. And it pairs extremely well with rice.
Preparation Time: 15 min
Total Time: 25 min
- 2/3 pound (about 300g) green beans
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1/3 pound (about 150g) ground pork (optional)1
- 1 tablespoon chopped dry chili pepper (optional)1
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped scallion
- 1 tablespoon Chinese cooking wine 2
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon black vinegar3
- Gather and prepare all the ingredients. Trim the two ends of each green bean along with any tough fibers. Break the longer ones into two. Use a paper towel to completely dry all the water on the surface of green beans (do not skip this step as water will make frying green beans dangerous).
- Heat the ¼ cup vegetable oil in a large wok or a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is getting hot (about 50% heated through), add the green beans. Gently stir and toss until the surface of the green beans become translucent and wrinkly (about 3-5 min). Transfer all the green beans to a plate (be careful not to over fry).
- Pour out most of the vegetable oil leaving one tablespoon. Maintain a medium-high heat. Add the ground pork (optional), 1 tablespoon chopped dry chili pepper (optional), 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 1 tablespoon minced ginger, and 1 tablespoon finely chopped scallion. Stir and toss immediately to make sure nothing sticks to the pan.
- When the ground pork starts changing color from pink to white, add the 1 tablespoon of Chinese cooking wine2 and mix well (if skipping ground pork, skip this step and proceed to step 5).
- Add back the previously fried green beans and the rest of the condiments: 1 tablespoon soy sauce, ½ teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, and ½ teaspoon black vinegar3. Immediately toss and stir for a minute or two to evenly mix everything. Pour everything onto a plate.
- For vegetarians and kosher eaters, skip the ground pork. If you can’t tolerate spicy food, skip the chopped chili peppers like I did here as my three year old does not have much tolerance for spicy food (yet).
- I used Chinese Shao Shing Cooking Wine here (紹興料酒). If you do not have Chinese cooking wine, use equal amount of rice wine, Japanese saki, or white wine instead. The purpose of the wine is to reduce pork’s gamey smell.
- I used Chinkiang Vinegar (镇江香醋) here. It’s a type of Chinese black vinegar, very similar in taste to balsamic vinegar but without the sweetness. You can substitute it with equal amount of balsamic vinegar.