Chinese Seared Green Beans with Garlic

This is an ultra-simple and highly appetizing way to stir-fry all kinds of fresh string beans, Chinese long beans (or thinly sliced Japanese eggplant, zucchini, and many other quick-cooking vegetables). The garlic here is thoroughly cooked, so while the dish retains an enticing aroma of roasted garlic there won’t be any ‘garlic aroma’ in you. The trick to roasting garlic quickly and well is to have plenty of space in your frying pan between the beans, and no moisture. Most recipes indeed start by cooking the garlic first and then adding wet ingredients, but this particular dish really shines if you add the garlic at the very end, retaining its full flavor.

1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed and dried (or long beans cut into 5” pieces); can use ½ lb green beans and ½ lb sprouts
2-5 medium cloves garlic, crushed or sliced (use less or more garlic, to taste)
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
¼ tsp salt, to taste or 1 Tbsp soy sauce
Optional (for a more traditional Chinese version): 1/2 tsp sesame oil, 2 tsp sesame seeds, 1 tsp sugar, 1 Tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce

Heat oil until very hot in a large frying pan or wok; make sure the vegetables you are about to place in this hot oil are not wet or else they won’t cook as tastily and oil will spatter. Put in the vegetables and keeping the stove on high heat stir vigorously to coat with oil and prevent burning. (Another possiblility is to pre-cook the vegetables by blanching for a few minutes in the microwave or boiling water.) After about 2 minutes the veggies should be turning tender and yet remain crisp; now it’s time to put in the garlic and continue stirring briskly for another minute. Now add the optional ingredients, if any. Because garlic burns very easily turn off heat as soon as you notice some of it turning golden.


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The goal of this blog is to celebrate delicious food that's also practical. Contrary to certain foodie trends, we believe there is no reason for amazing food to be expensive or complicated or time consuming.

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