Toss those takeout menus and whip up a DIY recipe for Chinese Garlic Green Beans inspired by a popular dish at one of my all-time favorite restaurants, Din Tai Fung.
There are those takeout standbys that are so good that you’d do all the experiments to reverse-engineer that signature flavor. And that is exactly the way I worked my culinary magic to recreate one of the most iconic dishes at one of the most internationally beloved restaurants, Din Tai Fung.
If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you’ll know I am a Din Tai Fung super-fan. I have been dining at the southern California locations almost weekly for the past 5 years, and in those hundreds of visits, there has always been one singular must-order dish: the green beans. If you know, you know! (OK, the Spicy Chicken Wontons are a close second!)
Developing this recipe required me pouring through takeout and food delivery apps (Hint: They list ingredients in dishes!) and online forums to piece together every bit of research possible as I tackled this monumental task. Did I mention I’ve eaten this dish at Din Tai Fung nearly 100 times?
The result was a stunner of a side dish starring crisp-tender green beans that are flash fried just until perfectly blistered and then tossed in a quick-fix sauce flavored with a surprising addition. The best part? This recipe only requires only 5 ingredients!
Should You Boil Green Beans Before Sautéing?
For this recipe, you should absolutely not boil your green beans before sautéing. We definitely don’t want any mushy, overcooked beans on our watch. Generally speaking, you don’t need to boil green beans before sautéing, though some people do prefer the texture and bright green color of blanched green beans. To each their own!
Can I Use a Frying Pan Instead of a Wok?
Woks are the classic pan of choice when it comes to stir-fry. A wok’s sloped walls makes it much easier to trap in higher heats and stir ingredients. Frying pans are less sloped and have flat bottoms, meaning oil will spread evenly throughout the bottom of the pan.
Long story short: A wok will cook your green beans much more quickly than a frying pan. If you opt to use a skillet, choose one with higher sides. You also may need to double-check your oil temperature to make sure it’s high enough. The easiest way to test if your oil is hot enough? Dip the tip of a green bean into your oil. It should bubble vigorously right away.
How to Dispose of Used Cooking Oil
To safely dispose of used cooking oil, first pour the oil out of your skillet into a large bowl until fully cooled. Once the oil is cooled completely, transfer it either into an empty bottle (with a lid) or a sealable plastic bag, both of which can then be discarded in the trash without fear of leaking.
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Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
Add the oil to a large skillet or wok set over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot (See Kelly’s Notes), fry the green beans in batches, tossing frequently, just until they begin to wrinkle, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked beans to the baking sheet and repeat the frying process with the remaining green beans, returning the oil to the correct temperature in between each batch.
Carefully pour the hot oil our of the skillet into a large bowl and let it cool completely before discarding.
In a small bowl, whisk together the mushroom bouillon with 2 tablespoons hot water and the soy sauce until combined. Set the mixture aside.
Return the skillet to medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil along with the garlic and mushroom bouillon mixture. Stir constantly for 1 minute then return the green beans to the skillet and toss to combine. Serve warm.
To test if the oil is hot enough, dip the tip of one green bean into it. It should bubble vigorously right away.
The easiest way to discard used vegetable oil is to let it cool completely then transfer it either into an empty bottle (with a lid) or a sealable plastic bag, both of which can then be discarded in the trash without fear of leaking.
Do not overcook the green beans during the pan-frying process. The beans will soften as they rest on the baking sheet.
Toasted sesame seeds are an optional garnish.
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