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Mike Wolfberg's Recipe for Chinese Green Beans with Cashews

This is adapted from a recipe from Martha Goh.

2 lb. green beans
Wash and trim the ends off, and throw away ugly parts, cut into 2-4 pieces per bean, creating pieces of about 1-1.5 inches; the yield is about 1.5 lb.

about 1/3 of a dried hot red pepper
with seeds removed

3 large garlic cloves
peeled and chopped medium fine

fresh ginger root
peeled and chopped medium fine, yielding about 2 Tbl.

1.5 oz. dark soy sauce
I use Pearl River brand Mushroom Soy Sauce, available at most Chinese markets.

2 oz. water

1/2 cup raw unsalted cashew pieces
I usually find these in Indian markets; don't buy the more expensive whole ones, since pieces are better.

1/4 cup canola oil
or any vegetable oil other than olive

2 scallions
washed and segregated into two groups - white parts and green parts - slice crosswise (hold off slicing the green parts until the end)

cilantro (coriander leaves)
washed and chopped (hold off chopping until the end) yielding about 1/4 - 1/2 cup

1/2 - 1 tsp. sesame oil
an optional final ingredient
  1. Put the oil in a wok, and heat on high heat for 30-60 seconds, and then put in the cashews. Stir for about 3-5 minutes, until they turn golden brown, avoid blackening, turning down the heat to medium as they begin to brown. Remove them with a slotted spoon into a dish for use at the end.

  2. Most of the oil should still be in the wok - add the piece of hot pepper and let it cook for a few seconds until it turns black; remove it (or leave it in for possible excitement). Sometimes I forget and add the beans too soon, in which case I just throw in the pepper with the beans. Finding it later seems too tough and its intensity probably reduces, so it would not be disastrous to eat it.

  3. Add the beans, and toss in the oil for about a minute. Add the chopped ginger, and continue tossing occasionally for about 4 more minutes. Add the garlic and the sliced white parts of the scallions, and continue tossing occasionally for another 3 minutes or so. These times are all approximate - just avoid burning the beans too much - some dark, burn spots are OK - they don't ruin the dish, but they are not something to strive for.

  4. Add the soy sauce. Use the water to rinse the soy sauce container and add that - stir in, lower the heat, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes. Use less time if you want the beans crispier yet less integrated with the flavors. Stir every 3-5 minutes to cook evenly. Then they can be set aside if they are being served much later.

  5. To get them ready to serve, chop the coriander, and slice the green parts of the scallions. If they were set aside, heat up the beans a bit first. Then add in the cashews (which were cooked earlier), and stir in for 1-2 minutes; add the scallions, and stir in for a few seconds; and finally add the coriander, and stir that in for another 1-2 minutes. This is finally servable. By this time there should not be much liquid left in the wok - it should have cooked down throughout the process.

  6. You can add some sesame oil for taste as you serve it, but I rarely do this.

back to the top of this page This page, maintained by Mike Wolfberg, was last updated on March 20, 2008.