Beef and green beans stir-fry

This is my favorite Chinese dish.

Makes 3-4 servings.


¾ lb green beans
¾ lb flank steak
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
2 (big) scallions, sliced long on bias
red bell pepper, julienned
1 tbsp dark soy sauce (normal soy sauce)
1 tsp light soy sauce (or gluten-free soy sauce)
½ tsp sugar
4 tbsp oil for stir-frying
1 tsp chili paste (what's used for Thai pad himapan is perfect)
1 tbsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
black pepper to taste
½ tsp sesame oil


1. Wash the green beans, drain thoroughly, and trim the ends. Cut the green beans on the diagonal into slices approximately 2 inches long (if too long to begin with).

Freeze the beef for 20-30 minutes ahead of time to make the next step easier.

2. Cut the beef across the grain into very thin strips about 2 inches long.

3. Chop the garlic, ginger, and scallions. In a small bowl, combine the dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, and sugar. Set aside.

4. Heat the wok over medium heat. When hot, add 2 tbsp of oil, drizzling the oil down the sides of the wok.


5. When the oil is hot, add the green beans. Stir-fry for 7 to 10 minutes, until their skins pucker and turn brown and the green beans are tender without being mushy. Remove the beans from the wok.

This technique has a name, dry frying, is not completely dry, but uses less oil; you cook the vegetable longer than usually done when stir frying. It dehydrates the beans, concentrates their flavor, crisping and somewhat charring them. Pay attention in order not to blacken them.


6. Heat 2 tbsp oil in the wok on high heat, drizzling the oil down the sides of the wok. When the oil is hot, add the garlic, ginger and scallions. Stir-fry for a few seconds, then add the dried chilies or chili paste and stir-fry for a few more seconds until aromatic.


7. Add the beef strips to the wok. Sear briefly without moving, and then stir-fry until the beef changes color. Splash the beef with the rice wine while cooking.

8. Add the green beans and the sauce. Stir in the scallions. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding black pepper to taste, and salt if desired.

9. Remove from heat and add sesame oil and sesame seeds if using. Serve hot immediately.