String Bean Chicken

This takeout string bean chicken is so easy to make and perfect for a weekday dinner. The juicy chicken is seared in a fragrant black bean sauce with tender green beans. The recipe yields extra sauce so you can serve it on rice to make a delicious one-bowl meal. {Gluten-Free adaptable}

String bean chicken served in plate

While so many Chinese recipes call for a wok to make stir fry, I tend to disagree. I used to live in an apartment with an electric stove, and it never generated heat quickly enough for wok cooking. Plus wok cooking requires more oil. Even after moving to New York, where I have a gas stove in the apartment, I still have the habit of using a nonstick skillet so I can reduce my oil consumption in daily meals.

Today I want to share this easy delicious string bean chicken stir-fry recipe with you. It uses a very simple setup and does not require intimidating wok cooking. But it generates a result that’s even better than takeout. The chicken is so tender, juicy, and flavorful. The sauce is extra rich and aromatic. Simply cook some steamed rice while preparing the stir fry, and your dinner will be ready in no time.

String bean chicken in a pan close-up

Cooking notes

Cookware

I’ve discussed in the past why NOT to use a wok, and some of the best ways to set up your stir-fry station if you’re using an electric stove. Long story short, the most convenient setup is to use your electric stove (or even gas stove) with a nonstick pan (such as the 12” Calphalon deep fry pan, which provides enough surface area against the heating element to heat up your pan well, while it’s also deep enough to hold the ingredients during cooking).

The benefit of using a nonstick pan is that it heats up faster on an electric stove than a traditional wok does. Plus, the nonstick surface prevents the food from sticking to the pan, which happens a lot when you cook starchy foods such as marinated meat and noodles. Most Chinese stir-fry dishes use cornstarch to coat the meat. You always need to use a bit more oil to prevent it from sticking to the pan. Even though I enjoy better seared meat using my carbon steel pan, I always reach for my nonstick pan when I’m preparing daily meals, to reduce my oil consumption.

On the other hand, if you prefer not to use a nonstick pan, I would recommend a cast iron or a carbon steel pan (Ignore stainless. They stick like hell). In this case, you will need to add more oil to prevent the meat from sticking.

Marinating the chicken

The most important step for most Chinese stir-fries. The marinade will season and tenderize the meat. The cornstarch will coat the chicken and protect it from the high heat. It takes a bit of effort but yields a very juicy and tender result, just like the restaurant version.

String bean chicken in a pan

Secret ingredients to create a rich sauce

Adding some fermented black beans or black bean sauce will go a long way. Fermented black beans, also called Douchi in Chinese, are cooked black soybeans fermented in salt water. They give anything you cook with them a deep umami flavor. It will take this simple stir fry to the next level without any extra work. You can find them in an Asian market or order them online (shop on Amazon or The Mala Market).

The bottled black bean sauce works as well. Although I always prefer to use fermented black beans instead, because they are gluten-free and do not contain additives.

Mise en place

I like to organize my ingredients in groups, so I can use fewer bowls. It also makes the cooking process easier. Once you’re done prepping, your kitchen counter should have:

  • Chicken with marinade
  • Mixed sauce with a spoon (to stir again right before adding)
  • Chopped ginger, garlic, and green onion in a bowl
  • Chopped green beans

Best way to cook the green beans

In the recipe, I borrowed the cooking technique from Sichuan dry fried green beans. To make the beans extra tasty, the best way is to slowly roast them until the surface is withered and browned. The process takes some time and patience (about 10 minutes). But the beans will end up with a perfectly seared surface that absorbs more sauce and has a tenderer texture.

On the other hand, there is another solution if you’re in a hurry. Simply sear the beans for 2 minutes or so. Then pour in 1/4 cup chicken stock (or water) and cover the pan. Steam until the beans reach your preferred texture, another 2 minutes or so.

To sum up

You’d be surprised at how easy it is to prepare this restaurant-style string bean chicken at home. I’ve made this dish very saucy so it is perfect to serve on top of rice. I hope you enjoy it!

String bean chicken cooking process

String bean chicken close-up

More takeout style recipes

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

String bean chicken - This takeout string bean chicken is so easy to make and perfect for a weekday dinner. The juicy chicken is seared in a fragrant black bean sauce with tender green beans. The recipe yields extra sauce so you can serve it on rice to make a delicious one-bowl meal. {Gluten-Free adaptable}

String Bean Chicken

This takeout string bean chicken is so easy to make and perfect for a weekday dinner. The juicy chicken is seared in a fragrant black bean sauce with tender green beans. The recipe yields extra sauce so you can serve it on rice to make a delicious one-bowl meal. {Gluten-Free adaptable}
To make the dish gluten-free, replace the soy sauce with tamari or coconut aminos, and use dry sherry instead of Shaoxing wine.
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: takeout
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 298kcal
Author: Maggie Zhu

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (450 g) boneless skinless chicken breast (or thighs), sliced to 1/4” (5mm) thickness

Marinade

Sauce

Stir fry

  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1 lb (450 g) green beans , cut to 1” (2.5 cm) long pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic , chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ginger , minced
  • 2 green onions , chopped

Instructions

  • Combine the chicken and all the marinade ingredients in a big bowl. Stir to mix well. Let marinate for 15 minutes while preparing the other ingredients.
  • Combine all the sauce ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Stir to mix well.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Spread the chicken in the skillet in a single layer. Sear until the bottom turns golden without moving it, 1 minute or so. Stir and flip to cook the other side, until golden, another minute or so. Transfer the cooked chicken pieces to a big plate and set aside.
  • Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and the green beans. Turn to medium heat. Sear the green beans, stirring and flipping occasionally, until the surface is browned and the texture turns tender, 10 minutes or so (*Footnote 1). Reduce to medium-low heat if the pan starts to smoke too much.
  • Turn to medium-high heat again. Add the garlic, ginger, and onion. Drizzle with a bit more oil (or chicken stock), 2 tablespoons or so. Stir and cook for a minute to release the fragrance.
  • Add the chicken back into the skillet. Stir the sauce again to thoroughly dissolve the cornstarch and pour it into the pan. Stir a few times until the sauce thickens and coats the ingredients. Immediately transfer everything to a big plate.
  • Serve hot over steamed rice as a main dish.

Notes

  1. Slowly searing the beans generates the best result. But if you’re in a hurry, you can sear the green beans for 2 minutes, add 1/4 cup chicken stock (or water), then cover to steam. Cook until the green beans turn tender or reach your desired texture, 2 to 3 minutes.

Nutrition

Serving: 4g | Calories: 298kcal | Carbohydrates: 24.4g | Protein: 27.8g | Fat: 10.2g | Saturated Fat: 1.3g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 778mg | Potassium: 752mg | Fiber: 4.5g | Sugar: 10.6g | Calcium: 5% | Iron: 12%
String bean chicken - This takeout string bean chicken is so easy to make and perfect for a weekday dinner. The juicy chicken is seared in a fragrant black bean sauce with tender green beans. The recipe yields extra sauce so you can serve it on rice to make a delicious one-bowl meal. {Gluten-Free adaptable}

Disclosure

Omnivore's Cookbook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
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One thought on “String Bean Chicken

  1. John Kovo

    We made this last night using a 12″ carbon steel skillet and with chicken thighs. The green beans cooked the full 10 minutes before browning on both sides. The only changes were an addition of a 1/2 a teaspoon of cayenne to the marinade for a little heat and coarsely chopping the fermented black beans before adding to the sauce. Otherwise, we followed your recipe and thought it was delicious served over rice.
    We loved the simplicity and the subtle flavors of this dish, it came together very quickly and have agreed to put it in our permanent rotation.
    Thank you for this recipe.

    Reply