Spicy Green Beans

Szechuan-style green beans are my favorite Chinese veggie side dish. It was only recently however that I realized that those healthy green beans are deep-fried before stir-fried in restaurants. No wonder they tasted so good!?! Here’s a spicy and delicious alternative we now make at home minus the frying oil.

1 pound fresh green beans
4 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil (for cooking in a non-stick wok or a fry pan)
1 teaspoon dried crushed red chili peppers
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon Hoisin sauce*
1 teapsoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon pure sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Wash and break off the stringy tips of the green beans and discard. Break each green bean in half. Crush, peel and finely chop the garlic.

To Cook:
Heat oil in a non-stick wok or a large frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, brown garlic and red chili peppers for a few seconds. Add green beans. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Add water, hoisin sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and salt. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook until all the liquid is nearly absorbed and the green beans are tender, approx. 14 to 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. Serve hot.

Makes 4 to 6 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 17 minutes

*Hoisin sauce is a sweet brown sauce made from soybeans.  Sold in jars or bottles at the Asian section of most supermarkets.  After opening, it can be stored for several months in the refrigerator.

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