Too often meat takes center stage at the dinner table and vegetables are left with mere supporting roles. Or at least that’s how it is my house. Dinnertime is hectic and sometimes it’s not until I’m calling everyone to the table that I realize “Ahh, I forgot to make something green!” At which point, frozen peas or broccoli are rushed into the microwave. Sometimes it’s good to mix things up a bit and give vegetables the spotlight, and this Szechuan dish does just that. I’d put it up against any Chinese restaurant — plus it’s easy to make.
As with any stir-fry, the key to success is to have all your ingredients ready and prepped before you start cooking. You don’t want to get stuck mincing a garlic clove while your ginger burns in the pan.
Begin by preparing the sauce. Combine the soy sauce, water, dry sherry, sesame oil, sugar, corn starch, red pepper flakes and dry mustard in a small bowl and set aside.
Next, heat a few tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large nonstick pan until very hot. You’ll know it’s ready when it starts to shimmer. Add the beans and stir-fry until tender, puckered and browned.
This is what you’re going for…
Transfer the green beans to a plate, then add the shiitake mushrooms to the pan. Cook for a few minutes until slightly browned.
Add the minced ginger and garlic and stir until just fragrant.
Finally, add the beans back to the pan with the sauce. Toss to coat while the sauce thickens.
That’s all there is to it. Technically, this dish serves four but my husband and I can polish off the whole thing easily. You could serve it as a side dish to any simply broiled fish or meat, or as a vegetarian main course with rice or noodles.
This recipe was inspired by More Best Recipes (from the editors of Cook’s Illustrated).
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Stir-Fried Szechuan Green Beans & Shiitake Mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce (use gluten-free if needed)
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1-1/2 tablespoons dry sherry
- 1/2 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
- 1-1/4 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
- Vegetable oil
- 1 pound green beans, ends trimmed
- 7 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- In a small bowl, whisk the soy sauce, water, dry sherry, sesame oil, sugar, cornstarch, red pepper flakes and mustard together. Set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until very hot and shimmering. Add the beans and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, puckered and browned, about 7-10 minutes (cooking time will depend on the size of the beans). Transfer beans to large plate.
- Add 1 teaspoon oil to pan. Add shiitake mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes until slightly browned. Reduce heat to medium, then add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Return the beans to the pan and add the sauce. Toss and cook until the sauce is slightly thickened and the vegetables are evenly coated, about 10 seconds. Transfer to serving dish and serve immediately.
- Note: This recipe works best with thinner green beans (but not the super thin French haricots verts). If your beans seem really long, thick or a bit tough, cut them in half so they cook evenly (there may be just a few in the bunch that you need to cut). Also, be sure beans are dry, otherwise oil will splatter.