Homemade Chinese Takeout: Spicy Green Beans and Teriyaki Stir Fry
I’ve written before about the awesomeness of making your own Chinese food at home, but that’s not going to stop me from talking about it again. Well, really my friend Dan started it by telling me about how he tried recreating Wonderful Restaurant’s green beans. In case you don’t live in my town (which, obviously, most of you don’t), let me tell you: Wonderful Restaurant is this weird little restaurant in the bottom floor of some student housing place that used to be a hotel near the university, and it has the most delicious Chinese food I have ever had. (To put that in perspective, I’ve eaten Chinese food in just about every city I’ve visited, which isn’t many cities, but still, I get the idea of what is good and what is most definitely not [I’m looking at you, gross restaurant in New York’s Chinatown].) Anyway! I always get the green beans and the black pepper tofu at Wonderful. I also like to get them ‘as hot as you’ll give it to me’, which always makes the one lady who works there scoff and the chefs come out of the kitchen to watch me eat. (I can handle it, people.) So, uh, in order to avoid being watched while I eat by curious people who can’t believe an American, let alone a West Virginian, can take the heat, I grasped Dan’s idea and ran with it.
Yay! Not only did I work on those green beans (a great use for the millions that my CSA continues to give me every week), I made a teriyaki style stir fry to go along with them. The main ingredients in both?
A ton of green beans.
At least 5 cloves of garlic.
A giant hunk of ginger.
Soy sauce, agave, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes, toasted sesame oil, sesame seeds.
That’s it. That’s really all that is in these beans, and the simplicity of it all is truly blissful. They’re salty, sweet-ish, astringent from the ginger, spicy, and garlicky. So fabulous! I just cooked it all over medium-high heat so it would all get nicely caramelized. Nothing to it, really.
For the teriyaki stir fry, I used Dreena Burton’s recipe for teriyaki sauce, found in Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan. I love this sauce, and I love the idea of making something that always before seemed mysterious from scratch out of normal old ingredients. Take that, bottled things! Anyway, ever since I first made the original recipe (it’s more broccoli and cashews, and less peppers and carrots) years ago, the sauce has been my go-to for quick stir fries.
I miss this now. There was enough for several servings, most of which I ate for lunches in the following days. The longer that tofu and broccoli sat in the sauce, the better it got. This is why I don’t understand people who don’t like leftovers.
Incidentally, while I was eating it, I realized that every main ingredient was organic (except for the ginger) and/or local, so I was really proud of myself. People who say healthy, seasonal eating isn’t fun or tasty are silly. Man, I’m really drinking the hatorade today, huh?
Local: bell peppers, garlic, tofu, green beans.