Sichuan Dry Fried Green Beans (干煸四季豆)

Sichuan Dry Fried Green Beans (干煸四季豆) – Blistered and charred green beans are tossed with an aromatic sauce, making this dish too good to pass up, and it’s substantial enough to serve as a main. {Vegan Adaptable, Gluten Free Adaptable}

Blistered and charred green beans are tossed with an aromatic sauce, making this dish too good to pass up, and it’s substantial enough to serve as a main.

Do you order green beans with your fried chicken with the justification that it makes the meal slightly healthier? Been there. Done that.

If the green bean dishes you’re familiar with are the type with mushy beans and flavorless sauce, these dry fried green beans (or Gan Bian Si Ji Dou) will blow your mind.

These fresh green beans are slowly roasted until blistered and beautifully charred, then tossed with ground pork, ginger, garlic, chili peppers, Sichuan peppercorns, soy sauce, and wine. But there is one more flavor bomb – Sichuan fermented pickled mustard greens (or Sui Mi Ya Cai). It adds sweetness and a super umami to the dish to make it irresistible.

Sichuan Dry Fried Green Beans Ingredients

Why go to all this trouble to make a veggie dish, you ask.

Well, that’s just the way real-deal Chinese food works and why it tastes so good. Because it cooks vegetables in a way that enhance their texture and flavor. Then it uses tons of aromatics, spices, and fermented goodies to add a deep, rich fragrance.

Taking the Sui Mi Ya Cai as an example. The mustard greens are hand pickled, sliced, and dried. Then they are seasoned with salt and packed into ceramic pots to ferment for three to six months. After the first fermentation, they are boiled with brown sugar for eight to nine hours and then hung out to dry once more. In the final stage, these greens are sealed again with star anise, Sichuan peppercorns, and other spices, for another three to six months.

Imagine adding a year’s worth of veggie essence to one green bean dish!

When I hosted foreign colleagues and friends back in China, I took countless people to experience real Sichuan food. The spicy chicken and Dan Dan noodles might be the most famous ones. But at the end of the day, vegetable dishes like these dry fried green beans and Sichuan eggplant always won everybody over, and became their new favorite dishes.

Blistered and charred green beans are tossed with an aromatic sauce, making this dish too good to pass up, and it’s substantial enough to serve as a main. {Vegan Adaptable, Gluten Free Adaptable}

Cooking notes

Here are some cooking notes to answer your questions and help you make better Chinese food.

What is dry frying?

Dry frying uses less oil, with a longer stir frying time, to cook vegetables or meat to slightly dehydrate them, thus creating a crispy and charred surface. The texture of dry-fried vegetables is similar to that of grilled ones, with a hint of smoky flavor. Seasonings are added after dry-frying; in this recipe, soy sauce, dried chili peppers, and Szechuan peppercorns are used. The withered surface of the green beans holds the spices well, making for an appetizing, intense, and pungent flavor without using a ton of sauce.

How do I make this dish vegetarian / vegan?

The authentic version always uses ground pork as a way to enhance the flavor of the veggies. For a vegetarian alternative, you can choose from minced rehydrated dried shiitake mushrooms, a bit more Sichuan pickled mustard greens, a spoonful of fermented black beans, or some fermented spicy bean paste (the dish will be slightly spicy).

I thought I needed to use a wok?

Yes and no.

In fact, the first part of the cooking, pan roasting the green beans, works better in a skillet than a wok. It provides a larger contact surface and the beans will be cooked more evenly.

Normally, the second part of the cooking is done in a wok, where you toss the green beans with pork and the rest of the spices. However, I’ve done various experiments and discovered that you can create great results using a skillet, as well. I highly recommend you stay with the skillet, especially if you have an electric stove. For more information, check out why you should stir fry with a frying pan instead of a wok.

Here is how to cook the most flavorful green bean dish, and one that is substantial enough to serve as a main.

Ultra flavorful veggie dishes

Sichuan Dry Fried Green Beans (干煸四季豆) - Cook this dish for your Thanksgiving this year!

Ready to make some delicious green beans in your own kitchen? Let’s get started!

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.

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Blistered and charred green beans are tossed with an aromatic sauce, making this dish too good to pass up, and it’s substantial enough to serve as a main. {Vegan Adaptable, Gluten Free Adaptable}

Sichuan Dry Fried Green Beans (干煸四季豆)


  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 25 mins
  • Yield: 2 servings for main or 4 servings as side
  • Category: Main, Side
  • Method: Stir frying
  • Cuisine: Chinese

Description

Blistered and charred green beans are tossed with an aromatic sauce, making this dish too good to pass up, and it’s substantial enough to serve as a main.

To make this dish Vegan or vegetarian, follow footnote 1.

To make the dish gluten free, replace Shaoxing wine with dry sherry or rice wine. Replace soy sauce with tamari.


Ingredients

Sauce

Stir fry

  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 pound (450 grams) green beans, tough ends removed
  • (Optional) 1/2 pound (220 grams) ground pork (*Footnote 1)
  • (Optional) 3 tablespoons Sichuan pickled mustard greens (Sui Mi Ya Cai) (*Footnote 2)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon whole Szechuan peppercorn
  • 3 dried chili peppers (*Footnote 3)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger

Instructions

  1. Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Set aside. Dry the green beans thoroughly before cooking to prevent oil splatter.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until hot. Add the green beans and stir to coat well with oil. Spread the beans to prevent them from overlapping, as much as possible. Flip every 15 seconds or so. Cook and stir until the surface is mostly brown and withered, 10 to 15 minutes. Turn to medium heat if the pan starts to smoke too much. Remove the pan from the stove. Transfer the green beans to a plate and set aside. (*Footnote 4)
  3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and the Sichuan peppercorns to the pan. Cook over medium heat until the peppercorns turn dark. Scoop out and save for later. (*Footnote 5)
  4. Add the ground pork, Sichuan pickled mustard greens, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook and chop the pork to separate it into small pieces. When the surface of the pork turns golden, add the dried chili pepper, garlic, and ginger. Stir a few seconds to release the fragrance. Add back the green beans and pour the sauce over them. Cook and stir until the sauce is mostly absorbed, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Remove the pan from the stove and taste a green bean. If it’s not salty enough, add a pinch more salt, return the pan to the stove, and stir to mix well. Transfer everything to a plate.
  6. Serve hot on top of rice as a main, or as a side.

Notes

  1. The purpose of ground pork is to add flavor, although I did use a bit more pork in this recipe to make the dish substantial enough to serve as a main. You can replace it with ground chicken or ground beef, or skip it altogether for a side dish. If you choose to skip the ground meat, I highly recommend you add 2 more tablespoons of the Sichuan pickled mustard greens to enhance the flavor. If you do not have Sichuan pickled mustard greens, adding a bit of chicken bouillon, 2 tablespoons of fermented black beans, or 1 tablespoon of fermented chili bean paste (Doubanjiang) will work too.  
  2. Sichuan pickled mustard greens add savory and sweetness to the dish, making it extra rich. You can double the pickles and skip the salt to make the dish extra fragrant. If you do not have pickled mustard greens, 2 tablespoons of fermented black beans, or 1 tablespoon of fermented chili bean paste (Doubanjiang) will work great, too.
  3. The dried chili peppers add a fragrance and smokiness to the dish but not much in terms of heat. If you want the dish to be a bit spicy, break apart the chili peppers before adding them.
  4. Alternatively, you could use a pair of tongs to remove charred beans and transfer them to a plate. This way, the beans will be browned more evenly without overcooking.
  5. For the cooked Sichuan peppercorns, drain the oil with kitchen paper towel and ground them to powder. You can use them on the cooked green beans to add a zing or add to other dishes such as noodles etc.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 of 4 servings
  • Calories: 394cal
  • Sugar: 2.1g
  • Sodium: 652mg
  • Fat: 27.8g
  • Carbohydrates: 4.1g
  • Fiber: 0.1g
  • Protein: 30.6g
  • Cholesterol: 104mg

The post was originally published on Feb. 14, 2014, and updated on Oct. 21, 2017.

Sichuan Dry Fried Green Beans (干煸四季豆) - Blistered and charred green beans are tossed with an aromatic sauce, making this dish too good to pass up, and it’s substantial enough to serve as a main. {Vegan Adaptable, 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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Hi I’m Maggie Zhu! Welcome to my site about modern Chinese cooking – including street food, family recipes, and restaurant dishes. I take a less labor-intensive approach while maintaining the taste and look of the dish. I am originally from Beijing, and now cook from my Austin, Texas kitchen.

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27 thoughts on “Sichuan Dry Fried Green Beans (干煸四季豆)

  1. Leyla

    Yummy thanks for the step-by-step pictures for this dish, they really helped! I kept it simple, after I dry fried the beans I took the excess oil out and then fried some garlic until fragrant, afterwards I added the green beans back in, added a pinch of salt and some oyster sauce and later some sugar when I realized WOW salty. It came out really tasty though.

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Thanks for trying out my recipe! 🙂
      Oyster sauce + sugar sounds very yummy and I believe it tastes good with rice. Dry fried vegetables absorb flavor easily, so be careful when you add salty ingredients such as soy sauce and oyster sauce.
      I will try to cook with oyster sauce next time for sure! 🙂

      Reply
  2. Claire

    Maggie, thank you so much for this recipe! I have always loved this dish in restaurants and never really thought about making it for myself. My family loved the result and we make this at least once a month now.

    I made a few alterations to suit me: a vegetarian recipe with vegetable stock and no pork, plus I leave out the salt. I am amazed by the flavor 🙂 I love your blog!

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Claire, thanks for the comment and I’m so glad you like my recipe! Believe or not, you just made my day 🙂
      I never thought to use vegetable stock to make this one, what a great idea! Will definitely try out the vegetarian version next time. Thanks for sharing the tips and hope you have a great day ahead 🙂

      Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Joni, I’m so glad you like this one! This is a Szechuan dish and hoisin sauce is not a common ingredient in the cooking. Instead we use soy sauce. Hope you enjoy the dish and happy cooking! 🙂

      Reply
  3. Pingback: Szechuan Style Stir-Fried Cauliflower - Vitamin Sunshine

  4. Dave

    Thanks for the recipe! How would I adjust it to make it “ma la”? How much red and Sichuanese pepper should I add and where? Pretty much every place I ate this in Beijing cooked it with the numb/spicy effect.

    Thanks!!

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Dave, I have used some red chili pepper and Sichuan peppercorns in this recipe. You can find them on step 5 (where you infuse the hot oil with the ma la flavor, but remove the peppercorn to avoid biting into them later). I personally would cook it with a teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns and 3 to 4 pieces chili pepper.
      In step 5, Add the peppercorns into the oil first and cook over medium low heat until their color turns dark. It will take a minute or two. And then add chili pepper can continue cooking. If you do not mind having the peppercorns in the dish while eating (just like what we do in China), do not remove them and you’ll get more of the “ma” flavor. Also make sure you select the good Sichuan peppercorns. If you cannot smell the numbing flavor when you open the bag, the peppercorns are probably being pasteurized and do not have the numbing flavor.
      I always break the chili pepper to reveal the seeds, so the dish will be spicer. Again, it depends on the type of chili pepper you use. If you got the really spicy ones, 2 will make a dish very spicy.
      I hope this is helpful! Let me know if you have any other questions and hope the dish turns out great! 🙂

      Reply
  5. Judi

    I used around 10 sichaun pepper corns in with the beans, and left them in, love the lemony flavour they impart to the final dish. Added a little more soy and shaoxing for flavour at the end, was very like the dish we love in our local Sichaun restaurant. Thanks for the recipe

    Reply
  6. marina yee

    I tried this last night , My family loved it. I minced up the chilli and also left the sichuan peepers in the dish. Just Delish!

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      So glad you tried my recipe and like it Marina! Mince up the chili is a great idea! It definitely spice up the dish a bit more, just the way I like it 🙂
      Hope you have a great weekend!

      Reply
  7. Kathy Beatty

    HI Maggie,
    I just discovered your wonderful website. Everything looks so delicious and the way you break down the steps and give extra tips, it makes all of them look very doable. I cannot wait to try out your recipes!
    KB

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Thanks for taking time to leave a comment Kathy! I’m glad you found my blog too 🙂
      Can’t wait to hear how your dishes turn out. Happy cooking and have a great week ahead!

      Reply
  8. Lori Lippitz

    This is my favorite dish of my favorite cuisine! I will cook it tomorrow night for visiting students from Pakistan–I hope they like it. I am a vegetarian, so I am pondering about what to substitute for the pork. (When I order it in restaurants, I always ask for it without pork, and it always tastes great, so I might just go without.) But what do you think about some finely minced Chinese salted black beans? Or is that not the flavor you would be going for?

    I could also just use finely chopped and fried Mock Duck, which comes in a can and is excellent. Your suggestions would be appreciated! And thank you for a clear, simple approach that does not promote any products. What a relief!

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Lori, you can definitely turn this dish into a vegetarian one by simply skipping the pork. I love the idea of adding minced black beans and I use the method sometimes too! If you have Sui Mi Ya Cai (Sichuan pickled mustard), you can use it to replace the pork as well. In fact, many authentic Sichuan dishes use this pickle to cook with or without the pork. The mock duck should work too, but you probably want to chop them really fine. I’d still add some black beans or the pickles even if I use the mock duck because it adds more texture than flavor. Sounds like you’re an expert of Chinese cooking already, so I believe the dish will turn out great in any case 🙂
      Happy cooking and hope your students enjoy it!

      Reply
      1. Lori Lippitz

        I do have some pickled mustard, weirdly! I’ll try that and tell you how it goes. I am far from an expert at Chinese cooking, but it is my favorite cuisine and I am always trying to learn. But I will not be putting Great Beijing Restaurant out of business anytime soon!

      2. Maggie Post author

        You have such a well-stocked pantry Lori 🙂 I can’t wait to hear your feedback on the vegetarian version. Happy cooking and have a fantastic weekend!

  9. Lori Lippitz

    Lori reporting back: Sorry no photo, but I’d love to have your input. What worked: The pickled mustard and chopped dried black beans worked great! Added texture, flavor and salt. Everyone ate them up–all two pounds of beans! Things that didn’t work as well: I couldn’t get enough of the beans to blister fast enough, so they got slightly overdone I was using a cast iron Dutch oven. Do I need to buy a cast iron wok?

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Hi Lori, I’m glad to hear that everybody loved the green beans!
      To answer your question, I think the best way is to cook the green beans in smaller batches. I usually use my 11-inch heavy duty skillet to pan fry the beans. It holds one pound at a time. What I do is to use medium high heat to heat the oil to really hot, then turn to medium heat to roast the beans. I only stir and flip them every minute or so, and I do remove some of the beans that are already blistered so the rest will cook faster. If you’re cooking two pounds beans, you probably need to separate them to 2 to 3 batches, depends on the size of your pan. I wouldn’t suggest a cast iron wok for this task unless you want to use more oil to deep fry the beans (which is also an authentic way to cook the dish, but I rarely use at home).

      Reply
  10. Harry Rutgers

    I’ve made the recipe only to substitute the pork for chicken thighs and doubanjiang with Fermented black beans. It tasted like heaven! An absolute 5 star dinner, Thank you so much for sharing!!

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed the dish Harry! Using chicken thighs sound so good and healthy! I’d love to try it out next time 🙂

      Reply
  11. Deborah Jayne

    Tried this today and it turned out really well! Nice to have less oily green beans than we get when we eat out!

    Reply
  12. Kevin

    Hi Maggie, I commented on your amazing black bean sauce, the BEST recipe, period!!!

    So I’m on the net looking for a good twice cooked pork recipe, and wound up here, again!! The pork recipe linked me to ANOTHER recipe, this one for dry fried green beans, which caught my eye as it’s one of my favorite dishes I never seemed to get quite right over the years. I made it tonight served as a side to my Kung Pao Chicken.

    This is now my go-to DFGB recipe!! Maggie, you are absolutely amazing!! I followed this recipe to a T, even ordered the mustard greens from Mala Market (I like my dishes authentic!). This was mind blowing good! I have never had, or made, dry fried green beans this savory, with this depth of flavor, ever. Anywhere. Easy and incredibly delicious.

    After so many failures, once again, it’s Maggie Tsu selflessly sharing her recipes with all whom will seek and prepare them, which provided me the golden ticket for the best DFGB recipe ever!

    My eternal thanks for this site, you have some serious culinary Kung Fu, don’t stop sharing, and I need to catch up!

    P.S. Have you considered putting out a hard-copy cookbook, market on Amazon or wherever you like? I’d be the first in line to buy it and first in line to get it signed. :). Your recipes have been a clear cut above the rest. Please consider it, I want one! :).

    Reply