Fresh string beans have a natural sweetness when sautéed lightly in olive oil. In this recipe adapted from The Eating Well Cookbook, the crisp and refreshing taste of green beans is complemented with spices like ginger, coriander, and mustard seed. Combined with carrots and onions and seasoned with fresh lemon juice, this spicy green beans recipe makes a scrumptious side dish or easy appetizers. Topped over rice, it makes a light and healthy meals.
Also known as snap beans or string beans, green beans are tasty and crunchy and are best steamed or stir-fried quickly on medium high heat to keep their flavor, color and nutrition. Some green beans are grown to be stringless so you don’t need to remove the strings one-by-one. Before cooking the green beans, wash them thoroughly in cold water and pat dry. Remove the woody stem end by snapping it off with your finger. If the beans have strings, remove them by gently pulling them off. If the beans don’t have strings you can trim off the tops and tails with a knife. With a sharp knife, cut the beans diagonally into bite-sized pieces, roughly about one inch.
Ingredients: 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. mustard seed, 1 lb. fresh green beans, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces, 1 small onion, chopped, 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced, 1/8 tsp. ground ginger, 1 tsp ground coriander, 2 tbsp. lemon juice, preferably fresh
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds and sauté until they start to pop, about 30 seconds. Stir in beans, carrots and onions. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add ginger and coriander. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring often, until beans are crisp-tender. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice and serve.
Take care not to overcook the beans. They are best when they are tender but still crisp. If you overcook them, they will become mushy, lose flavor, become dull in color, and unappealing to eat. The method stir-frying helps keep the beans firm and concentrate the most of their flavors so that you really taste their natural sweetness. Combined with spices inspired by oriental cooking, spicy green beans are perfect with steaming hot rice or noodles. Spicy green beans are also the perfect side dish for grilled chicken breast strips, lemon chicken, soy chicken, stir-fried beef strips, fried tofu, sauteed mushrooms, sweet and sour pork or fish, steamed fish, or baked fish.