Green beans, snap beans, string beans, French beans, whatever you want to call them, they’re in season, they’re cheap, tasty and healthy. Go for it!
We’re very high on vegetables here. We easily eat 10 oz a day (per person), so I’m always trying various ways to prepare vegetables making them slightly different every time we eat them. These have a little Asian twist to them and rank high on the ‘yummy delicious’ list here (‘yummy delicious’ being the English expression for my Dutch 2 year olds favorite foods, thanks to Dora).
For some reason the combination pine nuts & green beans works beautifully in this side dish.
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
Garlic (I used 1 clove, grated)
Ginger (thumb sized piece, grated)
1 tbsp sweet soy sauce
1 dsp chili sauce
Handful pine nuts
Coarsely chop the bell pepper and the onion. Trim the beans and break the long ones in half. Give them a good wash.
Parboil the beans in lightly salted water. I like a little bite to them, so I boiled them for about 13 minutes. You can give them a few minutes longer if you like, just don’t over-cook them!
Grate the ginger and garlic. I keep lots of ginger in the freezer, this way I always have some on hand. It works great! The flavor seems to intensify once frozen, so you even need less to get the same result. It’s also easier to peel and grate when still slightly frozen. Nothing but benefits!
Use vegetable oil rather than olive oil because you can use higher temperatures that way, which is much better for stir-frying. I use this oil – it’s an oil that has a slightly Asian flavor to it already. Seems they infused it with garlic, fenugreek, cardamom, cumin, celery, turmeric, coriander etc resulting in an amazingly fragrant oil.
Sautee the bell pepper for about a minute or two, then add the onion. Add the ginger and garlic as soon as the onion turns slightly translucent, not before or you’ll burn the garlic. Don’t let the onions brown, it just doesn’t look good in this dish.
In the mean time the beans will be ready. Drain them and quickly rinse them with cold water – this will stop the cooking process, leaving your beans fresh and green rather than all sad, shriveled up and brown.
Add a pinch of chili powder to the onion mixture. I use incredibly hot chili powder, no clue where they got those chilies from, and have a toddler eating this as well, so I only use a pinch (literally, see?) but feel free to use more. I always sautee my spices for a minute or so, it really gets the flavor going.
Add the beans to the bell pepper/onions and give them a good swirl. Add a tbsp soy sauce. I used sweet soy sauce, but you can also add regular soy sauce and add some additional sugar. Is this a Dutch cooking products 101 or what?
Add a heaping dinnerspoon chili sauce. You don’t want to drown the beans, you just want to coat them. It gives them a real pretty shine. Hey, I’m a girl, I’m all about the bling-bling. Let it all simmer for a few minutes now so the flavors can incorporate.
Toast the pine nuts in a hot skillet. Roughly 30 seconds should do, then shove them around a bit. Give them another 30 seconds and they’re done.
Serve the beans on a pretty platter, sprinkle some of the pine nuts on top and serve with a little extra soy sauce on the side. If you, unlike me, happen to like Coriander, this would be your cue to use it. I can’t stand the smell or taste of coriander, so I don’t even want to use it as garnish.
These taste absolutely great with steamed rice and stir fried chicken or beef strips!