caramelized spicy green beans

For quite a while, I was mostly vegetarian. I’ve rather slipped from that way of eating in the last couple years, but my diet still largely consists of vegetables (especially raw veggies, because, whoa … no cooking, amIright?)

One of my favorite things to encounter on the Chinese buffet are spice green beans in a spicy soy based reduction. I tried and tried for years to duplicate the sauce, but it always eluded me, even in recipes I’d scoured the interwebz to find. I’d almost given up when I came across this one.

Although not a lover of the bell pepper, I never omit it from recipes. (Hel-loooo? … grew up in southern Louisiana) and in this recipe it adds a vibrant touch of color and flavor. I just sort of shove them aside when it’s time to eat.


  • 1 pound fresh haricots verts (fancy French way to say green beans. Get whatever kind you like … just nothing canned or frozen … bleck.)
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar (the recipe calls for light brown sugar, but I use whatever I’ve got/whatever needs to be used first before it gets all hard and useless.)
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp dried crushed red pepper (add a dash of ground cayenne if you REALLY like it hot.)
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, sliced in strips
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp peanut oil (don’t substitute on this. I’m serious.)
  • 3/4 teaspoon seasoned salt

Cook haricots verts (or whatever beanage you’re using) in boiling salted water for 1 minute. Drain. Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process. Drain well and press any excess moisture from the beans between paper towels. Stir together brown sugar, soy sauce and dried crushed red pepper.

Heat the peanut oil in a large skillet. When the oil is hot, add the green beans (if you didn’t dry them well, you’ll know it now,) bell pepper and onions. Sauté over high heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until the beans and peppers begin to look blistered. Sprinkle with the seasoned salt. Remove from the heat and add the soy sauce mixture to the skillet. Stir to coat.

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