Cooking with what you have during these lockdown days means checking your bin for vegetables that are about to go. So, when I saw the sitaw in my ref, I knew I had to cook Chinese Green Beans with Garlic Sauce. This is perfect for meatless Lent meals, either as a side dish or beyond cuaresma, a meal in itself. Sitaw (long green beans) is a backyard vegetable in the Philippines and is an ingredient in many Filipino dishes. It was one of the first vegetables I was taught to cook by my mom. Here in America, I buy sitaw from the Asian market.
When we order Chinese take-out, I like to ask for the garlic-flavored green beans on the menu. One look at the dish and I knew I could easily recreate it at home.
Most Filipinos love strong garlic flavors and that’s what defines this dish, in its sauce base. You can make the garlic sauce from scratch. Or if ingredients are scarce these days with the pandemic crisis, take a shortcut and use bottled Chinese garlic sauce. I found a bottle in my pantry. This is what I used because I didn’t have the ingredients for the made-from-scratch option.
It only takes minutes to put these green beans stir fry together. You will relish the tender, shrunken strings, browned and coated with a salty, garlicky, slightly sweet glaze. Pair it with steamed rice. It’s superb.
As we are all sequestered in our homes, let us be grateful for the basic things – a roof over our heads, meals on the table, our families and good friends. And keep cooking. Keep stirring those powerful aromas and pungent odors of garlic, bagoong, and patis. To many Filipinos, these aromas are reminders of home. Let’s be grateful for the memories those scents evoke.
Chinese Green Beans in Garlic Sauce
- Skillet (10 to 12 inches diameter) ; Or a Wok
For the sauce:
- 1 Tablespoon Lee Kum Kee Black Bean Garlic Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1 Tablespoon water
For the stir-fry:
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 4 cloves garlic peeled, finely minced
- 1 whole medium-sized white or yellow onion sliced
- 12 ounces sitaw (long green beans) washed, edges trimmed; sliced in 2-inch length pieces; about 2 cups
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
- steamed rice
To prepare the sauce:
- In a small bowl, pour and combine together the following: Lee Kum Kee Black Bean Garlic Sauce, honey and water. Blend well. Set aside.
To stir-fry the vegetables:
- In a medium-sized skillet or wok, over medium-high heat, add the vegetable oil and unsalted butter. When oil and butter are hot enough in 1 to 2 minutes, saute the garlic and onions. After the onions are translucent in about 2 minutes, add the green beans.
- Pour the garlic sauce-honey mix over the green beans in the skillet. Mix well so the sauce coats the green beans.Season with ground black pepper.Cook till the beans are browned, shriveled and tender for about 8 minutes. Sprinkle the sesame oil and mix vegetables well. Serve warm with steamed rice.
To make homemade Black Bean Garlic Sauce (optional):
- If you have all these ingredients and prefer to make your own homemade Black Bean Garlic Sauce, here's a basic recipe:1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth2 Tablespoons Chinese salted black beans; in plastic bags, at Asian markets1 Tablespoon soy sauce2 cloves garlic, minced2 teaspoons cornstarch1 teaspoon oyster sauce1 teaspoon sugar1 Tablespoons vegetable oilSoak the Chinese black beans in water for 10 minutes. Then drain water.In a small bowl, mix together the broth, black beans, soy sauce, garlic, cornstarch, oyster sauce, and sugar. Blend ingredients well till there are no more lumps from the cornstarch. Set aside.Preheat a small skillet or wok over medium-high heat for one minute. Add the 1 tablespoon of oil. Lower heat to medium. Add the black beans sauce mixture. Stir to blend. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes more till sauce thickens. Keep stirring or the thickened sauce will scorch at the bottom of the skillet. When done, turn off heat. Cool the sauce. Store in a covered jar in the refrigerator till ready to use with the above Chinese Green Beans recipe. (Adapted from "The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook" by Patricia Tanumihardja)
- The store-bought bottled Lee Kum Kee Black Bean Garlic Sauce is very salty and the garlic flavor can overwhelm the dish if too much is added. Resist the urge to add more than 1 tablespoon to this amount of vegetables or other type of stir-fried dishes. There are also other brands of Black Bean Garlic Sauce available from online sources like Amazon, or large supermarkets with an ethnic/ specialty section.Ingredient substitute: Substitute with 1-2 tablespoons of toyo (soy sauce) if you can't find the store-bought Black Bean Garlic Sauce and don't have the ingredients to make a homemade sauce.
Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
Did you like this recipe?I have more Filipino Instant Pot recipes in my newest cookbook Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Traditional Philippine Cooking in A Multicooker Pot by Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino. I also have more classic recipes inspired by my mother’s cooking in my popular cookbook: My Mother’s Philippine Recipes. If you’re learning how to cook Filipino food or a fan of Philippine cuisine, buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
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