Recipe: Dry Sautéed String Beans

The arrival of the weekend mostly brings an opportunity to recharge, refuel and reconnect with family and friends. Images of leisurely walks, long conversations and endless time come to mind. However, for most New Yorkers the weekend is the time for errands, activities and general running around to catch up with their lives.

A recent weekend hang with my friend Jason came with a car ride out to New Jersey to pick up a completed home improvement project. He was giddy with excitement, but a gloomy day drive in Saturday traffic to a lumber shop was not hot in the streets to me. Alas, we were hanging and listening to Prince (may he rest in purple peace) for the entire trip.

As Jason was loading the car, I was trolling my smart phone for nearby places to eat…as I tend to do. A good Jersey sammy was talking to me, but then, not too far away (around the corner), is a place billed as “authentic Shanghai cuisine”. It WAS a Saturday when dim sum is served. So why not in Fairfield, New Jersey?! Yo, shout outs to New Jersey!

We walked into Shanghai 46 to awesome smells and a room filled with Asian Americans enjoying amazing looking food. This place would be no slouch!

We nestled into a booth and attacked the menu to find just enough to satisfy…on this visit that is. We started with xiaolongbao (soup dumplings)! Baby,get at ‘em if you’ve never tried them! You aren’t living until you do! A hot pillow of juicy goodness coming for your senses…

After ogling the curry udon noodles on our neighbors lazy Susan, we mis-ordered Shanghai style hot spicy noodles with pork. Turns out that was no miss at all. Spicy, flavor,  Sichuan peppercorn was putting in work!

We rounded out our first brief moment at Shanghai 46 with the simple but way good dry sautéed string beans.

Jason and I loved ev-er-y-THANG about our meal but those string beans need to be made on the regular! They are simple and delicious and any picky eater would take a break from their choosy ways to down a plate of them. Have at the recipe…

1 lb green beans, haricots verts or Chinese longbeans

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

1 tablespoon ginger, finely diced

2 scallions (spring onions, green onions), white parts only, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon chili paste

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Pepper to taste, optional

2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil, or as needed

Wash the green beans, drain thoroughly, and trim the tops and bottoms. Cut the green beans on the diagonal into slices approximately 2 inches long.

In a wok or large pan heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the green beans and stir-fry (SCHOP! Tip: stir-frying requires constant movement) until they start to shrivel or “pucker” and turn brown (varies depending on bean so pay attention, but 6 to 7 minutes for longbeans). Remove the green beans from the wok and drain in a colander.

In the same wok/pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over high heat. Add the garlic, ginger and scallions. Stir-fry for a few seconds, then add the chili paste and stir-fry for a few more seconds until aromatic. Now add the green beans back to the wok/pan plus the dark soy sauce, sugar, salt, and pepper if using. Stir everything together until the beans are coated, taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.

Serve immed-jet-ly!

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