These Chinese green beans with shallots and garlic make for an easy but flavorful dish. The combination of crunchy green beans and a generous amount of garlic results in a light and healthy side dish.
Garlic green beans are a staple vegetable dish in Chinese and Asian restaurants. One such example is the sautéed green bean dish served at the famous Din Tai Fung restaurant chain. The technique used to get the blistered and shriveled exterior of Chinese style garlic green beans (flash-frying) can make the dish more unhealthy. With these green beans with shallots and garlic, you can create a healthier alternative that still has great flavor.
Chinese restaurants use the method of flash frying to prepare their green beans. To flash fry, the beans are passed through a large wok of hot oil (similar to a quick deep fry). In Chinese, this technique is called 干煸 (gan bian), which translates to “dry-fried.”
In my recipe, I blanch the green beans as a fast and healthy substitute for flash frying. Since there isn’t a need to deep fry or repeat several smaller fries, this is a quick and easy garlic green beans recipe. Blanching also helps the green beans to retain their crisp and crunchy texture. (I also use this technique to make Korean mung bean sprouts). I include a generous amounts of garlic in my garlic string beans recipe for more flavor. Lastly, I also added fried shallots to add to the final texture of the dish.
How to Make Green Beans with Shallots and Garlic
Blanch the beans
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While the water is heating up, snip off any hard ends off of the green beans and break them in half if they are too long. (Preparing the beans while the water boils helps to save time). Also, prepare a bowl with cold water or ice water.
Add the green beans to the pot and blanch for two minutes for skinny green beans or three minutes for thicker green beans. Remove immediately and shock them in the cold water so that the beans retain their crispy texture and vibrant color.
Cook the Green Beans
In the pot or a skillet, heat some oil over medium heat. Then, add the garlic with oil as needed. Stir-fry until fragrant and lightly golden brown, about 30 seconds.
Add the green beans back to the pot/pan with the salt, sesame oil, optional chili flakes, and fried shallots. Sauté together for an additional 1-2 minutes and then serve.
I included fried shallots in this dish for more texture and flavor. If you do not have fried shallots available, feel free to omit or substitute them with fresh shallots. If you decide to use fresh shallots, cook them along with the garlic before the blanched green beans are added.
Alternative to Blanching the Green Beans
If you do not want to blanch the green beans, you can alternatively cook them in a wok/pot/pan over medium-low to medium heat. Stir and cook the beans occasionally for 15-20 minutes, or until they are completely cooked through.
Even though sauteed Chinese green beans take significantly longer to prepare this way, I noticed that the beans were even crunchier than when I blanched them. Experiment with both methods and see which one you like best!
Chinese-style Green Beans with Shallots and Garlic
- 1 pound green beans
- 6 large cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 tsp salt plus more to taste
- 1 tsp chili flakes optional
- 2 tbsp fried shallots or substitute fresh shallots
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While the water is heating up, snip off any hard ends off of the green beans and break them in half if they are too long. View Note 1 for how to prepare without blanching
- Prepare a bowl with cold water or ice water.
- Add the green beans to the pot and blanch for two minutes for skinny green beans or three minutes for thicker green beans. Remove immediately and shock them in the cold water so that the green retain their crispy texture.
- In the pot or a skillet, heat up some oil. Then, add the garlic with additional oil as needed. Stir-fry until fragrant and starting to turn golden brown, about 30 seconds.
- Add the green beans back to the wok with the salt, sesame oil, optional chili flakes, and fried shallots. Sauté together for an additional 1-2 minutes and then serve.
- Heat a large wok over medium-low to medium heat. Add some oil. Add the green beans and stir occasionally until tender and lightly browned, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the beans and set aside.