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Sweet-and-Spicy Ginger Green Beans

Serves: Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil, divided
  • 1 pound green beans, stemmed and halved on the bias
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • Ground white pepper


Procedures:

We cooked these green beans in a very hot wok, without moving them, to develop browning and flavor, then added water to steam them until tender. Drying the beans thoroughly minimized splatter, and halving them on a steep bias allowed them to absorb more flavor. A final dose of vinegar, added off heat, prevented the beans from losing their bright green color.

Don’t use an ill-fitting lid. A proper seal is key to this recipe. Have the lid ready as soon as you add water to the wok.


In a small bowl stir together the sugar, fish sauce and soy sauce. Set aside.

Heat a wok over medium-high until a drop of water evaporates within 1 to 2 seconds of contact, about 3 minutes. Swirl in 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the beans in an even layer over the bottom and up the sides of the wok. Cook, without stirring, until beginning to color, about 3 minutes. Add the water and immediately cover the wok. Cook until the beans are bright green and barely tender, about 1 minute.

Clear a space in the center of the wok, then add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the clearing. Add the ginger and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir the sugar-fish sauce mixture to recombine, then pour in a thin stream along the sides of the wok. Stir-fry until the liquid has thickened and coats the beans, about 1 minute. Off heat, stir in the vinegar. Taste and season with pepper.

by Christopher Kimball

 
 
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