Pork with Green Beans
A Pork Stir Fry with Green Beans that packs an amazing flavour punch for something with so few ingredients! You’ll love how it’s eaten with a spoon, and that it takes just over 10 minutes to make. This is a simplified version of the popular Szechuan Stir Fried Green Beans with Minced Pork. Don’t skip the charring of the beans, it’s the defining feature of this stir fry!
If you’ve ever been to a Chinese Szechuan restaurant, you might be familiar with a green bean and pork stir fry which is a firm favourite among spicy Asian food lovers. Chopped green beans cooked over high heat until blistered, then stir fried with a spicy intense flavoured sauce and pork.
If the full blown Szechuan version is what you’re after, you’ll need a couple of speciality ingredients requiring a trip to the Asian grocery store – Szechuan picked mustard greens (Sui Mi Ya Cai), Szechuan peppercorns, dried chillies. And here are a couple of recipes from my most trusted Chinese cooking blogs – Woks of Life and Omnivore’s Cookbook.
This Pork Stir Fry with Green Beans recipe is a slightly simplified version of the authentic Szechuan version. It packs a similar flavour punch, and it still has the signature charred green beans, but I pick up everything from the supermarket. In fact, if you have pork mince (that’s ground pork to those of you in Canada and the States!) and beans, there’s every possibility you have everything you need to make this right now.
The sauce for this Pork Stir Fry with Green Beans only has 4 ingredients in it – Chinese cooking wine (see recipe notes for subs), dark soy sauce (for colour), Chilli Garlic Sauce (for spice / vinegar / general Asian tasty flavour – see notes for subs) and sugar. The reason this recipe gets away with such a simple sauce is because of this – the charred green beans. Char any vegetable, and you take it from bland to amazing. Steamed beans vs charred green beans is simply no contest!
Unlike most of my stir fries, I like to cook this in a cast iron skillet so you can spread the beans out to char them. It takes a mere 2 ½ – 3 minutes, faster than using a wok. Because of this extreme high heat cooking – that skillet gets stinking hot – the one tip I have for this stir fry is to chop rather than grate / mince the ginger and garlic. It will stop it from sticking to the skillet and burning in 2 seconds.
Actually, that’s a general stir frying tip. Chop instead of grate the ginger and garlic. Never again suffer burnt garlic in your stir fry!
Oh PS That’s the Chilli Garlic Sauce I use. ↑↑↑ Available at supermarket – Woolies, Coles etc. BUT if you can’t find that exact brand or similar, sriracha or even non Asian hot sauces will make a terrific sub. Anything that is spicy but also a bit vinegary – which most hot sauces are. Even Franks Hot Sauce!
I know that when it comes to stir fries, I’m usually all about the sauce, the sauce, the sauce. And if you’re in the sauce camp with me, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how you don’t miss sauce with this Pork Stir Fry. The pork mince sucks up all that sauce and is actually quite intense flavoured – you’d find it rather salty without rice.
So mix it up with the rice, then enjoy the leisure of a stir fry you can eat with a spoon. It’s perfect Couch Food – which I define as food you can eat with a spoon without taking your eyes off the TV. – Nagi x
PS And because my mother will never forgive me if I don’t mention this – this Beans and Pork Mince Stir Fry is the Japanese version of this stir fry on her website. Similar flavour, but made using Japanese sauces.
Pork Stir Fry with Green Beans
Spiciness: Mild. Recipe VIDEO below.
A simplified version of the popular Szechuan Stir Fried Green Beans with Minced Pork. Packs the same flavour punch but made with everyday ingredients you can get from the supermarket. The stir fry has intense flavour so you won’t miss the sauciness of usual stir fries. You’ll love how it’s mixed up with the rice then eaten with a spoon – forget chopsticks!
This recipe has a nice flow to it so you can cook/prep at the same time. While the beans are cooking, get the other ingredients ready. Do this, and it’s dinner on the table in just over 10 minutes! (PS Keep frozen cooked rice on hand for super quick meals, it’s a very Asian thing to do – Note 6)
Also – see here for the Japanese version of this dish.
- 10 oz / 300 g green beans
- 7 oz / 220 g pork mince ((Note 1))
- 2 tsp finely chopped garlic (2 cloves) ((Note 2))
- 2 tsp ginger, finely chopped ((Note 2))
- 2 1/2 tbsp peanut oil (or vegetable or canola)
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce (Note 3)
- 1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine (Note 4 for subs)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp + Chilli Garlic Sauce (Note 5)
- Mix Sauce ingredients in a bowl.
- Trim the tough end of the beans, then chop into 2 – 2.5cm / 4/5 – 1″ pieces.
- Charred Beans: Heat 1 1/2 tbsp oil in a heavy based skillet over high heat (I use cast iron) until smoking. Add beans, spread out to cover base. Leave for 1 minute. Quick stir, spread out, cook for 30 seconds. Stir, then leave for 30 seconds, then repeat once more (so 2 1/2 minutes in total cook time) until beans are charred but tender crisp (not withered and floppy). Remove into bowl.
- Turn heat down to medium high, add 1 tbsp oil. Add onion, then garlic and ginger. Cook for 1 minute until edges of onion are golden.
- Turn heat back up to high. Add pork and cook, breaking it up as you go. Cook for 2 minutes until the pork is cooked through, then add Sauce. Cook for 30 seconds, then add beans and stir for another 30 seconds.
- Serve over rice. To eat, mix the pork into the rice then eat it with a spoon – forget chopsticks for this one!
1. Also terrific with chicken, turkey and beef.
2. Chopping rather than mincing garlic and ginger stop them from sticking and burning on the extremely hot skillet. Good general tip for stir fries!
3. Dark soy sauce has more intense flavour than light and all purpose soy sauces. It will work fine with light and all purpose though, but you won’t get the same colour on the pork.
4. You can substitute Chinese cooking wine with dry sherry, cooking sake or Mirin. If you sub with Mirin, omit the sugar. Here are the cooking wines I use. The Pandaroo Chinese Cooking Wine is sold at Woolies, Coles, Harris Farms. I really urge you to use one of these options as cooking alcohol is key to achieve a truly restauranty quality for Asian food, especially Chinese recipes.
If you can’t consume alcohol, the next best option is to use low sodium chicken broth. Use 1/4 of cup. It will take an extra minute or so for the Sauce to reduce.
5. Chilli Garlic Sauce is readily available in large supermarkets. It’s not “blow your head off” spicy, so feel free to increase it (stick your finger in the Sauce for a taste). It can be substituted with sriracha, sambal oelak or any hot sauce that has a bit of a vinegary taste (eg Frank’s) but you’ll need to adjust the quantity depending on the spiciness of what you use.
6. Frozen cooked white rice is a quick-meal life saver. A very Asian thing to do, all my relatives in Japan do it! Cook rice of choice as you usually do, including resting it for 10 minutes (never skip this!). While the rice is still warm, cling wrap into serving size portions, put it in plastic bags or containers, then freeze. To reheat, place in a bow frozen)=, sprinkle with water, cover with cling wrap then microwave until warm (1 serving = about 2 1/2 minutes from frozen). Let stand in microwave for 2 minutes – the extra steaming helps remoisten the rice. Serve!
7. The nutritional analysis assumes 3 servings, excluding rice i.e. stir fry only. 3/4 cup of cooked white rice is 130 calories which takes the total up to 448 calories per serving.
Originally published June 2014, long overdue for an update with fresh new photos and a recipe video!