Green Beans aren’t just for casseroles; jazz up your weeknight side dish with these fast and easy, Hot and Spicy Szechuan Green Beans! Control the heat with more or less chilies to suit your personal tastes!
I am slowly, but surely, learning to love spicy food. I used to be worried about trying any foods with hot peppers or chilies in it, because I had never experimented with heat before in my recipes. And, hot and spicy foods were not a thing in our family home. The hottest spice my mom ever used in her entire life was ground black pepper – I kid you not!
A few years ago, I tried sweet chili Thai sauce and absolutely loved the flavour, however, at that time, even that particular sweet sauce was a little to spicy for me. I drank copious amounts of
water Diet Coke trying to cool my tongue. But, I persevered and managed to finish that particular meal. (I know you’re not supposed to drink carbonated pop when trying to relieve the burn from ingesting spicy foods, but I don’t drink water – like ever!)
Fast forward a few years and I’m adding increasingly more and more dried red chili flakes to many of my recipes. I’m using a lot of fire roasted chilies in my cooking as well. I’m still not at the level I’d like to be, but I feel that with a little more practice, I’ll increase my heat/spice tolerance.
Cooking with whole red chilies though, is pretty new. I’ve been experimenting with both dried and fresh red chilies with hopes of finding a balance that works for me. In this particular dish, Hot and Spicy Szechuan Green Beans, it was a little on the strong side. They were still delicious, but I could only eat a small amount before the heat became too severe to enjoy the dish.
Again, as I have mentioned above, you can control the amount of heat to suit your personal tastes. Add more or as little as possible. I have learned that we all tolerate hot and spicy food differently, so do what’s right for you.
If fresh chilies are too much for you – as they are for me too, apparently – you can opt to use dried red chili flakes instead. I find that dried red chili flakes have a bit of heat, but not as much, so it might be a safer bet if you’re planning to serve these green beans to guests.
The sauce that you see drizzled on top of these Hot and Spicy Szechuan Green Beans is so easy to make and is absolutely delicious! And, the green beans are pan-fried very quickly so that they maintain their crisp, freshness, and that glorious green colour. There’s nothing worse than food that has been so overcooked that the colour turns murky and dull.
To assist with this recipe, consider using the following tools:
- 12″ metal tongs – the oil gets hot and non-metal tongs might not stand up to the heat. You’ll need tongs to keep the beans moving in the pan.
- Stainless Steel Frying Pan – this is the exact pan I use for any fast-fry veggie dish. It’s wide enough to fit green beans or asparagus, and just deep enough to avoid spills.
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Hot and Spicy Szechuan Green Beans
For the Beans:
- 1 pound green beans, washed and tips removed
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 whole fresh red chilies, roughly chopped or sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
- 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
For the Sauce:
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sriracha
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
Whisk together the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
Using a skillet over medium heat, add the vegetable oil and the green beans. Fry the beans for 4-5 minutes. Do not overcook. You want the beans to still have a crispy crunchy texture. Keep the beans moving in the pan to ensure all of the beans are cooked evenly.
Remove the cooked beans and set them aside.
Add the sauce mixture to the hot skillet along with the red chilies, ginger, and garlic. Whisk together to cook and thicken. Add the green onions and stir to combine.
Lastly, add the green beans back to the skillet and toss to coat with the sauce. Serve immediately.
I threw on some whole fresh red chilies at the end for extra spice and garnish. It's completely optional.
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