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These Sweet and Spicy Ginger Green Beans are some of the most delicious green beans ever!
Last winter, I attended a recipe development class at 177 Milk Street in Boston, the new venture that Chris Kimball started after he left America’s Test Kitchen. In addition to being curious about the new cooking school and studios, I was also eager to learn new tips and tricks from other culinary professionals who develop, write and publish recipes.
During the class, each attendee was given a recipe to prepare which was to be published in an upcoming issue of Milk Street’s magazine. Various Milk Street staff observed us preparing our assigned recipes, then questioned us afterwards about challenges we had in following the directions, cooking the food, and asking if we would make the recipe again. Once everyone was done with their assigned dish, we all ate!
This Sweet and Spicy Ginger Green Beans recipe – prepared by another student during the class – was one of two standout recipes I tasted that evening. (And I’m not really a big fan of green beans!)
Fast forward to a few weeks ago, and the Milk Street cooking show on television featured this Sweet and Spicy Ginger Green Beans recipe. After remembering how much I loved this recipe, I decided to prepare it for dinner – and Jack loved it too!
To make this dish, fresh green beans are cleaned and trimmed then allowed to brown and blister in a super-hot, oiled skillet. (Don’t be put off by the dark brown, almost-charred color – it adds great flavor!) After a quick steam, fresh ginger and red pepper flakes are added to the beans – then a simple sauce of brown sugar, fish sauce and soy sauce is added to the beans, and simmered until it thickens. Finally, rice vinegar and ground white pepper is added in the end.
On the Milk Street cooking show, Mr. Kimball pronounced these ‘the best green beans’ he’s ever had – and I have to admit, he’s 100% correct! The flavors are complex and absolutely perfect together.
Adapted from this recipe.
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons light oil such as grapeseed, divided
1 pound green beans, stemmed and halved with bias cut
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, fish sauce and soy sauce.
In a large non-stick skillet with high sides and a lid (or a Dutch oven), heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium high. Once the oil begins to smoke, add green beans and do not stir for three minutes or until they are starting to sear on the bottoms. Add water and cover.
Cook until the beans are just under tender, about two more minutes. Remove the lid.
Move the beans to the outside edge of the pan and add the remaining oil and stir in the ginger and pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds.
Pour in the reserved brown sugar mixture and cook for about one minute until the mixture has thickened a bit.
Off heat, stir in the vinegar and pepper and serve immediately.
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