I used to hate green beans.
I thought they were gross, and boring.
Please do not read anything in to this story I’m about to tell you. This isn’t a hint or a wink wink nod nod about anything.
My love of green beans was instant one day, back in July 2008. I was at dinner with my friend’s family for her dad’s birthday. We were in the valley (San Gabriel, not San Fernando) at one of those enormous dim sum places where waiters bring things around on carts, the tables are huge, and the forks are non-existent.
My friend’s family is half Japanese, half Chinese, and they were very familiar with this place. This honky white girl was not. Food was placed on our table, and the waiter placed the whole cooked fish, right in front of my plate. The whole fish with the big ole’ eye looking right at me.
And then I puked in my mouth just a tiny bit.
Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I was used to seafood in all forms; live, newly dead, cooked, with appendages and eyes. We used to go crabbing as a family, my sister and I caught shrimp in the San Juan Islands, and we would go squid fishing for fun (always throwing them back).
But this fish just grossed me out to no end.
Looking around the table, I zeroed in on a bowl of white rice, and some green beans. I heaped my plate with both, and promptly dug in. And then the green beans punched me in the mouth with their awesomeness. What started out as a “safe” plate filler, ended up being something I feel deeply in love with. They were crunchy, they were crispy (those are indeed two different things), they were spicy, and they were amazing. They were my barrier between puking and that stupid fish eye.
The next day I took a pregnancy test and Jack was a thing.
Again, this is not something you need to read in to. I just needed you to know that those green beans saved my life one night, and I’ve been looking to replicate them ever since.
And now I have. And now you can too. Pregnant or not, you’ll love these.
For this recipe, you’re going to need a wok. I’m sorry, it’s just a necessity. This is the one I have, but I’m sure any wok will work for you. There are tons of ways to season the wok, but don’t take my word for it. I started a grease fire in the house a few years ago trying to season it based on one bloggers suggestions.
The recipe I use is based off of this one, but highly edited based on our preferences, and what I already had in my house.
Spicy Asian Green Beans That Won’t Make You Puke
1 pound of green beans, ends trimmed
1 tablespoon, plus one tsp of high heat oil (I use expeller-pressed coconut oil, or avocado oil (Costco))
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 green onions, sliced thinly
1/2 inch of ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp rice vinegar (not rice wine vinegar)
1 tsp of Sambal Oelek (or “hot cock sauce” as my BIL calls it)
1/4 tsp fine seal salt
If you love yourself, and a speedy meal, prep the beans the night before. These beans need to be bone dry to stir fry, so I always prep them the night before and then wrap them in towel in a container overnight. You might as well prep the ginger, green onions, and garlic.
1) Heat a wok on medium-high.
2) While the wok is heating, mix up the sauce, and set aside. Place a few paper towels or newspaper on a large plate, set aside.
3) Add the 1 tblsp of oil to the wok, and swirl around to coat the surface. Once the oil is smoking, add the green beans, and stir them constantly to keep them from burning.
Stir fry them for a good five minutes, until they’re blistered and crispy looking.
Remove them from the wok and place them on the paper towel lined plate.
Meanwhile, don’t notice that your son has nipped your camera (I’m listening to a lot of books set in London right now, so bear with me while I turn in to Madonna a develop a love of talking like a Brit) and has taken silly photos of your husband.
Ask for the camera back. Have to ask again, and not be pleased about it because damnit, it’s a Wednesday, you’re tired from working all day, and you need to take some photos of some stupid green beans.
4) Add the other tsp of oil the now-empty wok, and swirl to coat. Add the garlic, green onions, and ginger, and stir constantly for about 30 seconds.
5) Then add the liquids, and if you are like me, this is when your smoke alarm goes off letting all the neighbors know you’re using your wok again. They’re just jealous of your awesomeness.
6) Add the beans back to the sauce/ginger/onions/garlic mixture, and stir for another minute.
7) Remove from the wok, and serve immediately. Because they’re really freaking good, and you shouldn’t let them just be eaten by the rest of the family.