Fashion is in Europe, living is in America, but eating is in China.
Food is indeed an important part of Chinese culture. Eating good food is thought to bring harmony and closeness to relationships. Their focus is on fresh, whole foods, and on the aroma, flavor, color, and texture of the food. I think they’re on to something… My Stir-Fried Green Beans & Shiitake recipe comes together quickly (as most stir-fries do), and you can see from the photos the lovely color and texture of the dish. You will have to try it in your kitchen if you wish to enjoy the aroma and the flavor. You won’t be disappointed!
If you’ve been reading my blog any length of time, you know I tout the importance of a well-stocked pantry. For specific information on pantry items for Asian cooking, see my post Pork and Shrimp Fried Rice and Your Well-Stocked Pantry. Keeping good quality items on hand gives you the flexibility to throw together a stir-fry like this one with just a quick stop for a couple of fresh ingredients. The list of ingredients for Stir-Fried Green Beans & Shiitake is simple – fresh green beans, a red sweet bell pepper, dried (or fresh) shiitake mushrooms, and a few pantry items. Serve this stir-fry with fragrant jasmine or basmati rice. Recently, I have paired it with rice and tender, pressure-cooked sesame ginger pork. Conversely, you can turn this into a fabulous vegetarian/vegan dish with the addition of cubed and stir-fried firm tofu. See Thai-Style Butternut Squash Curry for detailed instructions on stir-frying tofu.
If you have not already invested in a good wok, I strongly recommend doing so. If you don’t currently own one, use a heavy non-stick sauté pan. Gather your ingredients, cover mushrooms with very hot water, start your rice (if making), prep your vegetables, and combine the sauce ingredients prior to turning on the heat. You want to use full heat, and make sure your functional vent hood is on… I say this partly in jest; many kitchens have vent hoods that merely blow air back into the kitchen. The high heat used to stir-fry will produce smoke.
This simple stir-fry provides color, texture, flavor, and aroma... Serve with rice as a side dish, or add tofu for a vegetarian/vegan main dish.
20 minPrep Time
5 minCook Time
25 minTotal Time
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth, divided use
- 1 lb. fresh haricots verts (thin, young green beans), trimmed if necessary
- 1 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated or finely minced*
- 1 tsp. garlic minced
- 1 red, orange, or yellow sweet bell pepper, cut in strips
- 8 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked, stems removed, sliced thin**
- 1/4 cup rice wine
- 2 tbsp. tamari***
- 1 tsp. sriracha (hot sauce) or sambal oelek (chile garlic paste)****
- 2 tsp. sesame oil, divided use
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- 2 tsp. vegetable or canola oil
Soak mushrooms. They will need about 15 minutes in very hot water.
Start rice (if making).
Combine sauce ingredients: rice wine, 1/2 cup broth, tamari (or soy sauce), sriracha (or sambal oelek), and 1 tsp. sesame oil. Stir to combine. Whisk in the cornstarch.
Slice bell pepper and mushrooms. Set aside.
Add prepared green beans to wok. Add 1/2 cup broth. Cover wok. Turn heat to high, and steam 3-4 minutes. Stir once or twice. You want them still crisp-tender.
Remove the lid, allow any remaining broth to evaporate. Add remaining teaspoon of sesame oil, and vegetable or canola oil to the wok. Add ginger, garlic, bell pepper, and mushrooms. Stir-fry 2-3 minutes until green beans get a bit caramelized, and ginger and garlic are fragrant. Be careful not to scorch the garlic and ginger! Cooking times really do vary according to the BTU of the burner. You don't want limp green beans. Getting them just right may take practice!
When the green beans are tender but not soft, stir in the sauce. It will only need about 1 minute to thicken, at which point you want to turn off the heat. Remove pan from the heat source if cooking on electric.
Serve with jasmine or basmati rice, and garnish with chopped scallions and toasted sesame seeds if desired.
* I keep my fresh ginger in a zip bag in the freezer. I use a sharp paring knife to remove the skin, and grate it with a micro plane. br]
** This post on [Dried Shiitake Mushrooms is very helpful. I love fresh shiitake, and use them when I can get them. Unfortunately, they are hard to come by in Las Cruces. If using fresh, clean, remove stems, slice thin.
*** Tamari soy sauce is gluten-free, and has a deeper, richer flavor than common soy sauce. You may substitute soy sauce.
**** Sriracha and Sambal Oelek are spicy. If you prefer mild dishes, use less or omit entirely.