Recipe: Spicy Szechuan Style Green Beans (a la PF Changs)

In our recent Yasukochi Family Farms CSA box, we received 5 fistfuls (about a pound) of fresh green beans. I cleaned them, put them in a large ziploc bag in the fridge until I could be struck by inspiration.

I was doing the end-of-week veg prep Sunday morning (to make room for the new box arriving Monday), and I came across the green beans. I was watching tik tok last night and saw a video for spicy green beans. I decided to give it a go.

To start, I searched online for a bunch of recipes and Frankestein’d together a recipe using what we had on hand, which wasn’t much. Our fridge died last summer and I still haven’t replaced all of the condiments, in part because of supply chain issues, and also because of freaking inflation.

Spicy Szechuan Style Green Beans

Ingredients

  • 1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 2 T. your favorite cooking oil (I used grapeseed)
  • 2 T. Diced Garlic (It’s ok to use the stuff in a jar)
  • 1 T. Chili Paste or Sriracha (whatever you have)
  • 2 t. onion powder
  • 1 green onion, white and light green parts only
  • 3 T. Soy sauce (I used low sodium)
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 T. rice vinegar (or white- whatever you have)
  • Juice of half an orange

Optional, but tasty

  • Sesame Seeds
  • Red Pepper Flakes

Directions

  1. In a large pan or wok, heat oil.
  2. Cook green beans for 5-8 minutes, or until they start to brown and wilt. If your green beans have been stored in the fridge, it will take longer.
  3. While the beans cook, add the 1 T. garlic, chili paste, onion powder, and green onion to a small bowl and combine.
  4. After the beans have browned and wilted, add the chili/garlic mixture and combine/coat the green beans. Cook for 3-ish minutes on medium until the garlic is fragrant.
  5. Add the remaining liquid ingredients (I poured all of them into a mixing cup and set it aside until this step, but you can pour them directly into the pan/wok), cooking on low until some of the water evaporates. Remove from heat, and add sesame seeds and red pepper flakes (less than 1 tablespoon each).

This is a great side dish for any Asian food. I served it for breakfast -grown ups only- over basmati rice, topped with a jammy egg. It was very filling.

This recipe is vegan/vegetarian. If you are sensitive to gluten, replace your soy with tamari or coconut aminos.

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Dinner Party Idea: DIY Ramen Potluck!

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We love to entertain. Dinner parties are a great way to have friends over to hang out and enjoy a good meal without breaking the budget.

We also love Ramen- not Top Ramen, but delicious, mouthwatering, tempting noodles, velvety broth, veggies, and soft boiled eggs. Doing a Ramen potluck is great way to try out new flavors that you may have never thought of.

In doing research for this article, I found out that there are so many ramen toppings and ingredients that I had never heard of (like corn, which you can see in the picture above). So some of the ingredients listed below may not make it into your potluck, but know that somewhere out there there is someone putting it on/in their ramen.

The host can provide the broth. As far as ramen broths, there are lots of options. I like Tonkatsu, which is pork and chicken based. Here is a great recipe.  Not interested in making it from scratch? You can buy Tonkatsu broth concentrate on Amazon.

If you are vegan, Ocean’s Halo makes a great seaweed based ramen broth. Miso is also a popular ramen soup base (Ocean’s Halo also makes great miso, pho, and veggie broth). We usually try to have two big pots of broth to choose from.

Screen Shot 2018-12-30 at 9.26.13 AM.pngAs far as noodles, you can get regular ramen noodles at any Asian grocery store (or most 99 Cents Only locations). I’m not talking about the kind that come in a little bag with a pouch of salty broth, those are fried so they cook super fast and aren’t really all that healthy.

I like the Organic Millet & Brown Rice Ramen from Lotus Foods. As a bonus these are gluten free and have protein in them. Our local Costco sells large packages, which is great for parties.

Some people like Soba noodles (thick buckwheat noodles), and some people like zoodles (the spiral cut zucchini “noodles”).

Now that you’ve got broth and noodles down, it’s time to get creative with toppings! Here are just a few ideas for guests to bring:

  • Eggs: I love a good soft-boiled egg on my ramen.
  • Scallions/green onions
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Seaweed/Nori sheets
  • Canned Bamboo shoots (they will need to be rinsed and probably sliced to made bite-sized.
  • Corn Kernels (defrosted frozen, fresh, or canned with no salt- drained and rinsed).
  • Mayu/Black Garlic Oil
  • Soy Sauce
  • Chili Sauce
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Pickled Ginger
  • Fish Sauce
  • Kimchi
  • Fried Tofu
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Sliced fresh Jalapeños
  • Fried or pan steamed Gyoza
  • Roasted /braised slices of pork (fattier cuts of pork are great in ramen)
  • Cooked Shrimp (I can’t really give you any other suggestions on cooking/serving, I’m allergic to shellfish)
  • Fish Cakes (available at your local Asian Market)
  • Bok Choy
  • Mushrooms (Sliced shiitakes are nice, as are enoki)

And some people like rice as a side to their ramen. I prefer sticky rice, it’s easier to eat with chopsticks.

If you’ve got friends that don’t cook, don’t forget you’ll need chopsticks, bowls, spoons, and beverages.

Talk Back: What is your favorite type of Ramen?