Thursday, October 17, 2013

Garlic Ginger Green Bean Pods with Peanuts

Garlic Ginger Bean Pods on Plate Sprinkled with Peanuts
Scarlet Runner Beans from the Garden

Recipe adapted from Pacific Light Cooking

Like most schoolchildren, I experimented with growing beans and ended up with a vine that covered Mom’s kitchen window. This led to the conclusion that beans are easy to grow. So, in our square foot garden we planted “provider” bush beans, tricolor pole beans, and scarlet runner beans. Turns out that beans are not always that easy. Only the scarlet runners came up. We tried another planting, with the same result.  Scarlet runner pods are technically edible, but they are mostly grown as dried beans, many of which are used by schoolchildren to show how easy beans are to grow. Nonetheless, I harvested a few pods before they dried as an experiment.

Green Beans Stir Frying with Garlic and Ginger
Stir-fry Green Bean Pods, Garlic, and Ginger
Most of the pods were tender but some were woody. You can tell how tough they’ll be with reasonable certainty by their size and the heftiness of their strings. The pod’s surface has a rough texture, but this smooths out if properly cooked, unless the pods are really large. You could substitute any type of flat Italian bean or even regular green beans in this recipe. Yellow and purple beans—if you had better luck than I did with the tricolor pole beans—will work too.

Sauce Being Poured into Stir-fry
Adding the Sauce
Ruth Law’s book, Pacific Light Cooking, provided a classic take on Chinese green beans, and I’ll try her recipe at a later date with regular green beans. My scarlet runners needed all the help they could get, so I added some ginger and honey to the savory garlic mixture. Pacific Light Cooking contains recipes from throughout Asia, and even Hawaii, all healthfully light without compromising taste. Despite many of the recipes being somewhat complicated for Westerners, the simpler recipes like this one make this cookbook worthwhile. The book contains a great variety of recipes that can serve as starting places to develop your expertise in Asian cookery healthfully, and each recipe contains a nutritional analysis.

Beans Getting Seared in Skillet
Searing the Beans with Garlic & Ginger
Garlic Ginger Bean Pods with Peanuts
serves 3

¾ lb. flat bean pods or green beans
2 tbsp. oyster sauce
2 tbsp. rice vinegar
½ tsp. honey
1½ tsp. peanut oil
1¼ tsp. minced garlic
1¼ tsp. minced ginger
1½ tbsp. water
2 tbsp. unsalted dry-roasted peanuts

Remove strings from bean pods or green beans. If using bean pods, slice diagonally into 1-inch sections.

In a small bowl, combine the oyster sauce, rice vinegar, and honey thoroughly. Set sauce aside.

Heat a no-stick electric skillet to 350 degrees F (or heat regular skillet on medium). Add peanut oil and heat. Add beans, garlic, and ginger. Stir-fry until evenly seared on the outside, about 4-5 minutes for pea pods and 3 minutes for green beans.

Add water to skillet and cover. Cook, watching carefully and stirring frequently until crisp-tender, about 2 – 3 minutes.

Add sauce to skillet and stir to coat beans. Heat through, about 1 minute.

Remove from skillet onto serving plate immediately and garnish with peanuts.

This dish can be served hot or refrigerated and served chilled.

Closeup of Ginger Garlic Bean Pods with Peanuts
Simple Yet Elegant and Delicious

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