I love vegetables of all kinds and feel it is my duty to give you a chance to love them too with interesting recipes. This green bean one bursts with flavor, and is great on its own or served as a set with other dishes. It’s fast and incredibly fresh tasting. It’s a perfect make ahead dish because it’s just as delicious at room temperature or even straight out of the fridge. My Funky Spicy Green beans are at home at your holiday dinner, but play nicely at brunch too. You also get to take out some of your aggression by pounding ingredients in a mortar and pestle, and in 2020 who among us doesn’t have a little extra aggression?
This recipe has two ingredients you may be unfamiliar with, lemongrass and rice powder. Lemongrass can be found at some specialty stores like Whole Foods, and at Asian grocers. If I’m being honest, I don’t really think there’s a good substitute for lemongrass. You can use lemon zest in its place, but you will really be missing out on the authentic punch of almost astringent (in a good way!) citrusy flavor. Look for stalks that are firm and fragrant. It is common for the grassy tops to be on the dry side, but you don’t want them to be super brown and withered.
They are usually sold in a bunch, like scallions. You will only be using the bottom bulb portion, so trim away the top stalky leaves, and about a 1/4 inch of the most fibrous part from the bottom. Then, you will need to peel away the tough outer layer, until you get to the bright green, tender part of the stalk. For this recipe you are going to finely chop it, so it will be easier to pound in the mortar and pestle.
Or you could use the great cheat product we use in our restaurants-frozen minced lemongrass.
Rice powder is made from raw white rice that is first toasted and then very finely ground. It is typically used in Asian cooking to add texture and a toasty flavor. It’s gluten free, so that makes it a good ingredient to have on hand for people with gluten sensitivities.
Use a mortar and pestle
I know that not everyone has a mortar and pestle. But you should! This inexpensive kitchen tool has been around for centuries, for good reason. Pounding out aromatics like ginger, garlic, and lemongrass gently bruises them and keeps their essential oils intact. Those oils contain all the flavor. Grinding them into a pulverized paste with high powered electric blades overheats them, and destroys a lot of that flavor. And from a practical standpoint, when you are processing less than a cup of ingredients, they fly all over the work bowl of your processor and you have to keep turning it off and unlocking it to scrape down the sides. It’s more efficient to pound them in your mortar. However, if you find yourself longing for your food processor, have at it; no one will judge. And it will still taste great.
Once you have your ingredients prepped and then pounded the spice paste, the cooking part of the recipe takes just minutes. First you are going to take your lovely shallots, ginger, lemongrass, garlic, and chile paste and cook for a few minutes. Let all of that incredible fragrance bloom! Then you add your trimmed green beans, fish sauce, sugar, and stir fry until the beans are crisp tender. You can add a little water if the pan gets too dry and things start sticking. This shouldn’t be a really saucy dish though. It should be lightly caramelized green beans with chunky bits of your flavor bomb paste.
This makes a wonderful side to grilled fish or meat, or you can serve it with rice for a Meatless Monday meal. You are going to love this crunchy, salty, spicy, funky, and healthy dish. If you make our Funky Spicy Green Beans, we want to know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag us in your photos, @funkyasiankitchen. Show us the goods!
Salty, savory, funky, spicy green beans!
- 1 lemongrass stalk, top half discarded, and finely chopped or 1 tablespoon frozen minced lemongrass
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 fresh chile
- 6 shallots chopped
- 1 tablespoon rice powder
- 1 pound green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Pound the first five ingredients, lemongrass through shallots, in a mortar and pestle.
- Over medium high heat, bloom spice paste for 3-4 mins.
- Add the green beans, fish sauce, and sugar.
- Stir-fry for 4-mins until crisp tender. You can add a couple tablespoons of water if the pan is too try, but it should not be swimming in liquid.
You can make this vegan by eliminating the fish sauce. Use soy sauce and coconut aminos in its place.
Keywords: vegetables, sides,