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This easy Chinese garlic green beans recipe turns boring ol’ green beans into an exquisite side dish. Making the best garlic green beans is super simple and you only need 3 ingredients!
We’ve included two methods of cooking – the traditional dry deep-frying method and the sauté method using less oil. Both ways work wonderfully!
Why We Love This Chinese Garlic Green Beans Recipe
The texture is amazing. The green beans are deliciously blistered on the outside and tender on the inside. Traditionally, this texture is achieved by deep frying, but I’ll show you how you can accomplish a very similar result with sautéing.
The flavor is fresh and garlicky. There’s no soy sauce, no fish sauce, no ginger – just garlic and salt. You can add gochugaru flakes or some sesame chili oil for spice if you want, but these garlicky green beans are perfect in their simplicity.
Chinse garlic green beans are super easy and quick to make. You only need about 5 minutes of prep and under 5 minutes of cooking. And only 3 ingredients (plus oil). It’s a surprisingly easy and scrumptious recipe.
What Do I Need To Make Chinese Garlic Green Beans?
You’ll need some equipment for this recipe:
- A good wok
- A strainer (if deep frying)
- Paper towels (for patting the green beans dry)
As for the ingredients, here are the proportions for this recipe:
- 3 cups fresh green beans (DO NOT substitute frozen green beans)
- 6 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 2 pinches of salt (important for taste)
- Neutral oil for flash frying (enough to submerge the green beans)
How To Make Garlic Green Beans Chinese Style
I’m going to take you through the steps to make traditional Chinese garlic green beans by flash frying. You can see instructions on How To Prepare Chinese Garlic Green Beans By Sautéing under the Notes & Serving Suggestions.
Step 1: Prep the green beans
Start by washing a little over a pound of green beans under cold water, and rubbing them with your finger to remove any dirt.
Dry them thoroughly with paper towels to remove any water droplets. This will prevent splattering when frying.
Chop off the green beans’ ends and cut them in half. Pat them dry once more and leave them on paper towels to dry further as you prep the garlic.
Step 2: Prep the garlic and heat the oil
Smash and mince the garlic cloves finely. The finer you mince them, the more garlicky flavor the cloves will release.
Heat enough vegetable oil in the wok to be able to submerge the green beans. The oil should be between 350°F to 375°F.
Step 3: Fry the green beans
Fry the green beans in two batches to not overcrowd them, for 30 seconds to 1 minute per batch. Remove them with a strainer and repeat for the second batch. This is called dry frying.
Remove the green beans from the oil with a strainer and save the oil for another deep-frying recipe (such as this Deep Fried Sushi Roll).
Step 4: Fry the garlic
Make sure you’ve poured out most of the oil into a container for later. Turn the heat down to medium and use the residual oil to fry the garlic until it’s fragrant and starts to brown a bit. Be careful not to burn it.
Step 5: Season with salt
Toss in all the green beans and stir. Season with salt and give it another stir. Taste and add more salt if needed.
Step : Finish the dish
Serve the green beans immediately for the best texture and flavor. Although, they’re still good once cooled down. Check out the Notes & Serving Suggestions for some ideas.
Notes & Serving Suggestions
- This recipe only works with fresh green beans. Frozen and thawed green beans get too mushy and it’s also too hard to dry them. The oil will be splattering everywhere. Save this one for when those fresh green beans appear at your farmer’s market.
- Use the chopstick method to check the temperature if you don’t have a thermometer. Dip a chopstick until it touches the bottom of the pot and observe the bubbles that form. The bubbles should be relatively fast and large-ish.
- I know six cloves of garlic may seem like a lot, but trust me, there’s no such thing as too much garlic. You can even add more! My suggestion is to follow this quote: “Don’t ever let a recipe tell you how much garlic to put in. You measure that with your heart.”
- As for which oil is best for deep frying in this recipe, any neutral high with a high smoke point will do the job. Chinese cooks typically use vegetable oil, peanut oil, or soybean oil.
- You can store Chinese garlic green beans in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. But they’re best served immediately.
- If you want to make this recipe more heart-healthy, I suggest using safflower oil or rice bran oil for frying because they have the highest smoke point (500°F). But sunflower oil or peanut oil are also good.
- Remember to taste the Chinese garlic green beans before serving and add more salt if needed. You can always add more, but not take away, so, be gradual with those pinches.
- I love serving these garlicky green beans as part of a complete meal. Serve them with a protein dish like these Simple Pork & Shrimp Shumai Dumplings, some Kimchi for the fermented food, a Din Tai Fung Cucumber Salad for some freshness, and of course, don’t forget a fluffy bed of rice.
- Chinese green beans and chicken is also a great combo. You can serve them with this One-Pan Chicken Cauliflower for a low-carb meal. Or try our recipe for the Best Grilled Boneless Chicken Thighs and serve it with garlicky green beans and rice.
- You can also eat these Chinese garlic green beans as a snack just as you’d munch on French fries. Try dipping them in some spicy mayo made with half mayonnaise and half Sriracha. Or make your own Harissa Mayonnaise at home.
- I love the simplicity of this recipe – you can taste the fresh green beans and fully enjoy the garlicky richness. But you can surely add some minced ginger, sesame seeds, or chili flakes for a combination of flavors.
How To Prepare Chinese Garlic Green Beans By Sautéing
- To make Chinese garlic green beans sautéed not fried, you’ll only need about 3 tablespoons of oil.
- Add the oil to your wok on medium heat and wait until it slightly smokes. Toss in the dry, washed, and prepped green beans and sauté, stirring often until they begin to blister.
- Then add in the finely minced garlic and sauté until fragrant and the green beans start to char a bit. Voila, it’s as easy as that!
- 3 cups Fresh green beans
- 6 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 pinches of salt
- Oil for flash frying
- All ingredients ready? Let's begin!
- Wash the green beans to remove any dirt.
- Dry thoroughly with paper towels.
- Chop the ends off and chop the green beans in half.
- Smash and mince the garlic finely.
- Heat enough oil on medium high in the wok to cover the green beans. The temperature should be between 350°F to 375°F.
- Fry the green beans in batches to not overcrowd for 30 seconds to 1 minute per batch. Remove with a strainer. Repeat for the second batch.
- Remove the green beans and save the oil for another deep-fried dish.
- Use residual oil to fry the garlic until fragrant and it starts to brown a bit.
- Toss in all the green beans and stir.
- Season with salt and stir to coat evenly.
- Taste and add more salt if needed.
- Serve immediately.