Stir Fried Green Beans (干炒四季豆)

Learn how to make one our family favorites, perfect for easy weeknight dinners!

Prep Time
5 min
Total Time
25 min
Yields
4 servings

A Recipe by Daddy Lau

My dad's been cooking Chinese food for over 50 years - as a kid fending for himself in Guangzhou, as the head chef of his own restaurant, and as a loving father in our home.

Hopefully, by learning this recipe, you'll get to experience some of the delicious joy we felt growing up eating his food!

- Randy

This is an amazing dish that I grew up with (and my parents as well). We eat this 2-3 times a week!

It seems like my dad has dozens of recipes for tasty green bean dishes both at home, and restaurant-style.

This recipe is one of his more healthy varieties that packs just as much crunch and deliciousness as any other out there.

Fun facts about green beans

27M tons of green beans are consumed every year. Interestingly, while China produces around 75% of the world’s green beans today, they are said to have originated in Central and South America thousands of years ago. 

  • Only in the past several hundred years did green beans become a staple of the typical Chinese diet, following the explosion of international maritime trade in the 1500s. 
  • These are often called string beans, because long ago, they used to have a thick, fibrous string that ran along the seam of the pod. Nowadays, through plant-breeding, this thick string mostly no longer exists.

Ingredients

Weight: US
oz
g
Volume: US
cup
mL
Servings
4
    Main Ingredients
  • 1 lb green beans
  • 2 oz seafood mushrooms
  • 0.50 red bell peppers
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 pieces dried red chili (

    optional

    )
  • Blanching
  • 1 tsp olive oil (

    any type of oil works here

    )
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Flavors
  • 2 tbsp corn oil
  • 1 tbsp ground bean sauce
  • 0.50 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 0.50 tsp chicken bouillon
  • 0.50 tsp cornstarch
  • 0.50 tbsp water

How to Pick Green Beans

My parents talk about their tips at length in our full recipe video, which you can check out here:

Not to be confused with long beans or asparagus beans, which are about 1.5 feet in length and also common in Chinese cuisine, my parents prefer the common green bean(or sei gwai dáu 四季豆 in Cantonese), which are about 4-6 inches in length.

When they're shopping, they don't always examine every individual green bean, but if they did, they'd select green beans that are younger. Some signs they look for:

  • Beans that aren't bulging. Smaller beans are better.
  • A fresh-looking green skin throughout the green bean.
  • A green bean that's easy to snap.

On Ground Bean Sauce

For ground bean sauce, it might get confusing since there are a few different types of Asian bean sauces out there.

In Cantonese, we call it “mihn sih jeung 面豉酱” or "mòh yùhn sih 磨原豉", but most brands call it “Ground Bean Sauce” in English.

This sauce is made with ground up fermented yellow soybeans, and is packed with umami flavors.

Finding Asian Ingredients

Some of these ingredients are hard to find in a typical grocery store.

If you don't live near an Asian market, most or all of what my dad uses in this recipe can be found on Amazon:​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​

I've also included some other Chinese kitchen essentials, used in many of my dad's other recipes.

These links are affiliate links, which means that if you use our links to purchase these ingredients, Amazon pays my family a small amount for the sale - at no extra cost to you. If you use these links, we really appreciate the support!

As we start boiling water in a pot, we'll be preparing several vegetables:

  • green beans (1 lb)​ - Cut off the ends, and cut in half (or into 1.5-2 inch pieces). Wash and drain.
  • seafood mushrooms (2 oz) - Cut off the roots, and wash into 1.5-2 inch pieces. Wash and drain.
  • red bell pepper (0.50) - Wash, remove the seeds, and cut into thin strips.
  • garlic (3 cloves) - Cut into thin slices.
  • dried red chili (2 pieces) - Cut in half.

Apart from the main attraction, green beans, feel free to swap in whatever you'd like here (minced meats, other veggies, and etc.)

Add olive oil (1 tsp) (any type of oil works) and salt (1 tsp) to the boiling water.

Once the water is boiling, dump the green beans in, stir for a bit, and cover.

Once the pot is boiling again, we'll drain the green beans into a colander. You don't need to save the broth.

We'll heat our wok on high heat for 2-3 minutes. Then, we'll add corn oil (2 tbsp) and let that heat until the oil starts shimmering, or forming ripples. If the oil starts smoking, the wok is too hot.

While we wait, we'll mix a small amount of cornstarch slurry with cornstarch (0.50 tsp) and water (0.50 tbsp).

Once the oil is hot enough, we'll be cooking in several stages:

  • Cook the garlic slices and chilies for 20-30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  • Add the green beans and cook for about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add ground bean sauce (1 tbsp), sugar (1 tsp), salt (0.50 tsp), chicken bouillon (0.50 tsp) (optional), stir for another 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the chopped vegetables, and stir for about 1 minute.
  • Re-stir and add the cornstarch slurry, and stir for about 1 additional minute.

Like a true chef, my dad always tastes the green beans to see if the dish needs any modifications.

If not, transfer the green beans to a plate and call your loved ones over! Time to eat :)

Summary

Stir Fried Green Beans (干炒四季豆)
Learn how to make one our family favorites, perfect for easy weeknight dinners!
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Total Time: 25 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
    Main Ingredients
  • 1 lb green beans
  • 2 oz seafood mushrooms
  • 0.50 red bell peppers
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 pieces dried red chili (

    optional

    )
  • Blanching
  • 1 tsp olive oil (

    any type of oil works here

    )
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Flavors
  • 2 tbsp corn oil
  • 1 tbsp ground bean sauce
  • 0.50 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 0.50 tsp chicken bouillon
  • 0.50 tsp cornstarch
  • 0.50 tbsp water
Step 1 - Prepare vegetables↑ Jump to details

As we start boiling water in a pot, we'll be preparing several vegetables:

  • green beans (1 lb)​ - Cut off the ends, and cut in half (or into 1.5-2 inch pieces). Wash and drain.
  • seafood mushroom - Cut off the roots, and wash into 1.5-2 inch pieces. Wash and drain.
  • red bell pepper (0.50) - Wash, remove the seeds, and cut into thin strips.
  • garlic (3 cloves) - Cut into thin slices.
  • dried red chili (2 pieces) - Cut in half.

Apart from the main attraction, green beans, feel free to swap in whatever you'd like here (minced meats, other veggies, and etc.)

Step 2 - Briefly boil green beans ↑ Jump to details

Add olive oil (1 tsp) (any type of oil works) and salt (1 tsp) to the boiling water.

Once the water is boiling, dump the green beans in, stir for a bit, and cover.

Once the pot is boiling again, we'll drain the green beans into a colander. You don't need to save the broth.

Step 3 - Heat wok, prepare slurry↑ Jump to details

We'll heat our wok on high heat for 2-3 minutes. Then, we'll add corn oil (2 tbsp) and let that heat until the oil starts shimmering, or forming ripples. If the oil starts smoking, the wok is too hot.

While we wait, we'll mix a small amount of cornstarch slurry with cornstarch (0.50 tsp) and water (0.50 tbsp).

Step 4 - Cook green beans↑ Jump to details

Once the oil is hot enough, we'll be cooking in several stages:

  • Cook the garlic slices and chilies for 20-30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  • Add the green beans and cook for about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add ground bean sauce (1 tbsp), sugar (1 tsp), salt (0.50 tsp), chicken bouillon (0.50 tsp) (optional), stir for another 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the chopped vegetables, and stir for about 1 minute.
  • Re-stir and add the cornstarch slurry, and stir for about 1 additional minute.
Step 5 - Plate & enjoy!↑ Jump to details

Like a true chef, my dad always tastes the green beans to see if the dish needs any modifications.

If not, transfer the green beans to a plate and call your loved ones over! Time to eat :)

Step 6 - Take pictures
Whip out your camera (1). Begin taking photos (1,000,000). Pick your favorites!
Step 7 - Share and tag us on Instagram @madewithlau #madewithlau!
Did you have fun making this recipe? We'd love to see & hear about it. (Especially my dad. He would be THRILLED!)

Enjoy!

We have many, many happy memories enjoying this dish growing up.

Now, hopefully, you can create your own memories with this dish with your loved ones.

Also, I cordially invite you to eat with us and learn more about the dish, Chinese culture, and my family.

Cheers, and thanks for cooking with us!

Feel free to comment below if you have any questions about the recipe.

Watch on YouTube

About Made With Lau

We started Made With Lau to honor and share the legacy of our wonderful parents, Jenny and Chung Sun Lau.

Our hope is that these posts give you (and our future generations) a glimpse into how great they are!