These garlic green beans get their crunch through a Chinese cooking technique called dry-frying (ganbian, 干煸). It means to fry until dry, and there are two ways to do this: the traditional stir-fried way, and the restaurant-style deep-fried way. This recipe follows the latter.
When you drop the green beans in hot oil, the heat forces out their interior moisture and dries them out. The dehydration creates a wrinkly, blistered skin and a unique crisp.
We recommend cooking with French beans—they retain their snap well after dry-frying. Baguio beans tend to be tougher and more fibrous, making them prone to overcooking.
- 250g French beans
- neutral oil, for frying
- 1 ½ tbsp minced garlic
- salt, to taste
- toasted sesame seeds, for serving
Prepare beans: Trim woody ends from French beans. Pat beans dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
Fry beans: Heat a wok over medium heat. Add enough oil to fry the beans. To test the temperature, drop a bean into the oil—it should start bubbling immediately. Fry beans, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until skin is slightly wrinkled and blistered. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.
Cook garlic: Remove excess oil from the wok and add minced garlic. Cook, stirring constantly, until aromatic and slightly browned. Add the beans back and toss it quickly with the garlic, about 30 seconds.
Finish and serve: Season beans with salt and garnish with sesame seeds. Serve while still hot.
Trimming the woody ends removes the beans' toughest parts.
If you want crunchy beans, use slender French beans. They keep their snappy bite even when dry-fried.
Baguio beans are tougher, thicker, and more fibrous than French beans. This makes them prone to overcooking, which results in limp beans. Still delicious, but not as crunchy!