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Szechwan Green Beans and Shallots

Let’s talk green beans.  There are so many great ways to enjoy them, from a Nicoise salad to an updated vegan green bean casserole.  But I think my favorite has to be Szechwan green beans.  Trouble is, when you get them from a Chinese restaurant, they can be too oily.  That’s why I make my own version that uses a fraction of the oil.

The recipe is from Party Vegan and is part of the Chinese New Year menu that also includes the Pan-fried Sesame Noodles and Broccoli and Caramelized Tofu that are shown in the photo.  (BTW, the photo was taken by Tami at Vegan Appetite when she tested these recipes for the book.)

Also featured in that menu are recipes for a yummy appetizer called Pearl Balls, a spicy Hot and Sour Soup, and Pineapple and Scallion Brown Rice.  When prepared together, you have a veritable Chinese banquet.  When prepared individually, you have several great reasons to eat in instead of ordering take-out.

Szechwan Green Beans and Shallots
Spicy and crisp-tender, these green beans are as flavorful as any you’d find in a Chinese restaurant. From Party Vegan by Robin Robertson © 2010, published by John Wiley and Sons.

1 pound green beans, trimmed
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon dry sherry
2 teaspoons Asian chili paste
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil
3 medium shallots, minced
1 small red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Steam the green beans until just tender, about 6 minutes. Rinse under cold water and set aside.
2. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, ginger, sherry, chili paste, cornstarch, and sesame oil. Set aside.

3. In a large skillet or wok, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and bell pepper and stir-fry until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and stir-fry 30 seconds longer. Add the green beans, then add the sauce to the skillet. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste.  Cook, stirring, until the sauce comes to a boil. Continue cooking and stirring until the beans are coated, about 3 minutes longer. Serve hot.