I love ethnic food. Pretty much all types, but generally anything Asian is my favorite. I love eating it at restaurants, and I love experimenting with it at home. The only problem with cooking ethnic food at home is that sometimes it can be hard to find authentic ingredients. I find this especially true now that I live in a smaller city with a smaller Asian population. There are a few small Asian markets around, but they are definitely not the Asian super-stores that I am used to at home (oh T&T, how I miss you!).
The good news about these Spicy Szechuan Green Beans is that the ingredients are not super exotic. In fact, you should be able to find most of the ingredients in any old grocery store. Only a couple might require a trip to an Asian market, but a large, well stocked grocery store with an ethnic aisle will likely carry them too.
This recipe centers around green beans. A whole pound of them. Trim the ends off before throwing them in the pan.
Ground turkey adds protein without adding a ton of extra fat. Traditionally, ground pork would be used. But I don’t find it makes a huge flavor difference, and I like to save the calories (for noodles!). The other ingredients are the flavorers (look at me making up words!). You’ve got your standard garlic and ginger and scallions. Also a few sauces and spices that are not pictured: soy sauce, sugar, white pepper, chili flakes and mustard powder. Some corn starch for thickening. The ones that you might have a tiny bit of trouble finding are Chinese cooking wine and sesame oil. Again, most well stocked grocery stores should have these. If not, you can use dry sherry in place of the cooking wine. There really is no substitute for sesame oil, so let’s hope your store has it.
The beans are stir-fried in a HOT wok or skillet. Warning: it’s about to get smoky in here! Think of it as a great way to test your smoke detector. You want the beans to get nice and blackened on the outside, but still be crisp…
Like this. Move them to a plate and let them hang out while you cook up the meat and the sauce (which only takes a couple minutes).
The whole dish takes at the very most, 15 minutes to cook and that’s including time for the pan to heat up. So before you start, make sure you start cooking some rice or noodles to serve these delicious morsels of spicy beany goodness over.
There you have it. Everything you need for a meal in one bowl: veggies, meat and starch.
- 2 Tbsp water
- 2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp Chinese cooking wine
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp corn starch
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1/4 tsp red chili flakes
- 1/4 tsp dry mustard
- 2 Tbsp canola oil
- 1 lb green beans ends trimmed
- 1/2 lb ground turkey
- 3 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 3 scallions sliced thin
- 1 tsp sesame oil
Stir together the water, soy sauce, cooking wine, sugar, corn starch, white pepper, chili flakes and dry mustard together in a small bowl. Set aside.
Heat the oil over high heat in a 12" skillet or wok until just smoking. Add beans. Cook, stirring often until beans are spotty black but still crisp, 5-8 minutes. If beans are burning, turn heat to medium high. Transfer beans to a large plate.
Reduce heat to medium high. Add turkey to skillet, breaking meat apart with spoon and cook until no longer pink, 2 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Stir sauce again, then add it to the skillet, stirring constantly until slightly thickened, 30 seconds. Remove pan from heat. Stir in the beans, scallions and sesame oil. Serve over Chinese noodles or rice.