This is my second favorite way to make green beans (see Sprinkle It With Bacon Dust for #1). The only trick to this recipe is tracking down a few Asian ingredients that you may not have on hand, but nothing so unusual that it will require a trip to a specialty grocery.
Enjoy these beans and their sweet and spicy sauce over steamed rice or as a simple side dish with roasted pork or pan-fried tofu.
Green Beans with Ginger, Garlic, Chili, and Peanuts:
About 3/4 # green beans, ends trimmed and cut or broken into 2” lengths. You should end up with 4 – 5 C. trimmed beans total
1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. peanut or canola oil
1 small piece ginger, peeled and minced or microplaned (about 1 Tbsp. minced ginger)
2 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp. chili-garlic sauce (more if you like)
2 Tbsp. mirin (sweetened sake for cooking – the Marsala of Japan, if you will)
1/4 C. roasted & salted peanuts or cashews, finely chopped or food processed
Heat your largest saute pan over medium high heat. Add 1 Tbsp. oil and swirl to coat and then slide in the green beans. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt and saute for about 5 minutes, until slightly softened but still bright green.
Make a well in the center of the pan by scooting the beans out to the perimeter. Add the additional 1 tsp. of oil and slide the ginger right into it, letting it sizzle for about 30 seconds or until it just starts to get a toasty color. Now, mix the green beans and ginger together, coating the beans thoroughly.
Add the hoisin and the chili-garlic paste, and continue to stir to distribute the ingredients, for about 1 minute. Things will likely start to stick to the pan a bit now.
Carefully pour in the mirin to deglaze, stirring to help take up any bits that are stuck to the pan. Once the sauce is thick and syrupy (this won’t take long), reduce the heat to medium low and continue to cook, stirring regularly, another 3-5 minutes, or until the beans are done to your liking. Using this preparation, I like the beans best when they just start to lose some of their vibrant color but remain just a little crunchy in the middle.
Taste for salt (you will likely need just a little more), transfer to a platter or bowl, and sprinkle with the crushed peanuts.