Dry-Fried Green Beans

A dish you’ll find in many Chinese restaurants, this recipe for dry-fried green beans gives you the flexibility to use different ground meat or make a vegetarian version.
Photo by Clare Barboza

Courtesy Chinese Soul Food by Hsiao-Ching Chou (Sasquatch Books).

It’s hard to go back to blanched green beans once you’ve had dry-fried green beans. The dish, common in many Chinese restaurants, is a staple at my home, too. It makes appearances at weeknight dinners, Easter brunch, Thanksgiving, Chinese New Year— basically whenever green beans might be an appropriate accompaniment.

I prefer ground pork, but you can substitute ground beef or chicken. The beans can also be made without meat.

I use tender haricots verts, but you can use regular green beans or, if you can get to an Asian market, Chinese long beans.

While the recipe calls for a wok, you can adapt it for the equipment you have on hand. For example, you can make the beans in a deep fryer, or on the stove in a Dutch oven. Then, to stir-fry, you can use a sauté pan.

  • ¾ pound green beans (haricots verts or regular)
  • ⅓ cup, plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 ounces unseasoned ground pork or ground beef
  • 1 stalk green onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce, plus more as needed
  • 1½ teaspoons sugar

Trim green beans and cut in half. Line baking sheet with 2–3 layers paper towels. Set aside.

Over medium-high heat, warm wok until wisps of smoke rise from surface. Add ⅓ cup oil. Heat 1 minute, or until oil starts to shimmer. Working in batches, add beans to wok in single layer. Quickly stir-fry beans. The skins will start to blister. Cook until most beans look lightly wrinkled (but not necessarily browned), about 1–2 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer beans to paper towel–lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining beans.

Use paper towels to absorb residual oil in wok. Brush away any charred pieces.

Return wok to stove over high heat. Add remaining oil. Carefully place pork in wok, and break apart meat with spatula. Stir-fry 1–2 minutes, or until brown and cooked through. Add onions, ginger and garlic, and toss to combine. Add soy sauce, 1 tablespoon water and sugar. Stir to combine.

Add beans to wok, and toss to combine. Add additional splash of soy sauce, if desired. Serve with steamed rice. Serves 4.

Pair It

A Mano 2016 Imprint Susumaniello (Salento); $15, 87 points. Served slightly chilled this fruity red wine will be an utterly refreshing match to this savory dish. The bright berry and spicy flavors of the wine will play nicely with the ginger and garlic. Salty soy and pork are cut by the light bodied and refreshing nature of the wine.

Published on March 3, 2018

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