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13. Chinese stir fried spicy green beans

–ganbian doujiao (干煸豆角)
how to cook green beans simple Chinese recipe
Chinese spicy green beans

Chinese spicy green beans

I almost forgot about this dish until, not long ago, we went to a newly opened Chinese restaurant with friends. The restaurant specialises on Beijing and Sichuan regional food. It turned out to be not bad, not exactly the same, but good enough. The waitress recommended a similar dish to the one I am describing here (the green beans are different), and suddenly I started craving for it. (Actually, I am not quite sure whether this dish is part of the traditional Northeast Chinese cuisine. )

Traditionally, this dish comes with meat mince, and it is cooked in two steps: first deep fry, and then stir-fry. But since the green beans in North China are different from the ones here in UK, I will just stir fry them (here, the green beans are more juicy, the skin is a bit thinner, and easy to cook, where Chinese green beans are more matured, and take a bit longer to cook). However, different seasons produce different green beans; if you are in China, the ones that come in summer are the best for this dish.

I love to have the fresh ones — the really fresh ones just coming directly from the fields — all because of my grandpa. When I was very little, my grandparents had just moved from the countryside to the city to live with us. They couldn’t stand wasting the space in our back yard, so they turned it into a vegetable field. They planted different kinds of beans to get harvest at different times of the year. And when it was time to pick them up, my grandpa would take me there, I was holding a bag behind him — you would see a kind loving old man followed by a little figure — I was probably 4 or 5 years old.……

Anyway, — so, it is the reason why I really like the fresh green beans. Here, we normally get green beans in the supermarket; if there are none left, I would get ‘dawft beans’ – I don’t really see the difference when cooking Chinese dishes. How lousy I am with the food, that is the reason I can never say that I am a chef. :)

Because of the nature of the green beans, this dish is really easy to make, but it is a spicy dish — it is meant to be really spicy. The method of cooking it is called ‘Gan bian’, means dry cooking, so be careful as it might cause smoke, and the spicy smell might go into your nose– might cause a little discomfort. After cooking, the skin of the green beans is supposed to be dry, but the inside is still juicy. This method is different from the normal Chinese stir-fry: the fire needs to be kept low, and you shouldn’t use the kind of strong heat that brings fire out of the wok. :))

Here it goes.

The recipe: Chinese stir fried spicy green beans


Green beans

chilli ( the best one is dried small red chilli, I couldn’t find it in the shops, so I just use crushed chilli), oil, light soy sauce, salt


Well, not much, wash the green beans and drain them well.

Chinese stir fried green beans
Washing the green beans
Chinese vegetarian recipe with green beans


1) In a heated wok, pour in around 4 tablespoons of oil.

2) When the oil is heated up, put the chilli (depends on how spicy you can take, I use half teaspoon of crushed chilli)

3) After the chili well influences the oil, (normally you can see that the colour of the chilli changes), put the green beans in, stir well.

Spicy green bean recipe

4) When the skin of the green beans is softening down, put salt (I use 1/3 of teaspoon) and 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce in, mix well with green beans.

5) Keep the fire low, stir the green beans time to time, you can cover the lid of the wok if you like.

6) It might take a little while, but you can see any liquid in the wok (the juice from the bean and soy sauce) is dried up, and the skin of the green bean almost ‘shrinked’ – you done!

Easy, no? If you like meat, you can add meat mince before putting the green beens in, beef, pork or chicken mince all do. However, you won’t really feel that much like you are eating meat, the flavour of the meat will just give a touch to the dish — also nice. :))

Related posts:

27. Chinese stir fried soy beans with tofu and carrot
51. Chinese ‘guo ta’ tofu with spinach filling
79. Chinese stir fried egg and tomato
108. Chinese crispy fried aubergine (V)


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