I feel like this may be a sham but I promise you this recipe is amazing. Okay, not the best way to start off a blog post. Like “hey, this recipe is totally not authentic but it’s going to taste really good in your mouth?” Does that sound more convincing? Ehhhhh. Keep reading…I’ll explain.
So this dish is called Szechuan Green Beans with Ground Turkey. This is not a traditional recipe. I am taking some artistic creativity, poetic license, a “spin,” a “play,” an “interpretation” on the classic dish. That sounds really Chef-y and I like it.
I made a few changes to the classic dish. Traditionally Szechuan Green Beans are made with ground pork. I, of course, decided to substitute that with ground turkey. You could also use ground chicken or ground beef. I just prefer turkey for the taste and because it’s super lean (this is supposed to be healthy, right?). Also, Szechuan Green Beans usually include Szechuan peppercorns (obvi), which shockingly I could not find in my pantry. I have a serious obsession with going to Asian grocery stores so I am sincerely surprised I did not have that ingredient in my arsenal. Finally, this dish is usually flash fried but since I claim to be all about the healthy foods I opted for a combo of steaming and stir-frying. So there you have it. An innovative and modern take on the classic.
Even though this dish is not traditional it’s a serious flavor explosion in your mouth. Why you may ask?
To start this recipe has the three essential aromatic flavors of Asian cuisine: ginger, garlic and scallions. The combination of these three ingredients will make anything taste good. Second, I make a simple (yes only 4 ingredients kind of simple) sauce that coats the ground turkey and green beans perfectly. Usually when cooking Asian dishes I will literally have sauces that comprise of 15 ingredients. No joke. So when I say simple I mean simple. Lastly, it tastes even better because it cooks in one pot. I am telling you people when you cook something knowing there is only one pot to wash everything tastes better. Life tastes better.
There is one special ingredient in this sauce that is not Chinese but it is magical. It’s called tuong ot phi dau which is Thai for hot fried chili oil. This stuff is serious. I am not even slightly kidding. It will make sriracha and sambal oelek taste like ketchup compared to this stuff. My recipe calls for one teaspoon of the hot fried chili oil and that will be super spicy. If you can’t find the Thai chili oil I would recommend using at least one tablespoon of either sriracha or sambal to acquire the same level of spiciness. Besides the chili oil you’ll need hoisin, soy sauce and rice vinegar.
This is just another prime example of how eating healthy does not have to be dull. It can be so exciting that it will burn your mouth off. Serve this up with brown rice and you have a complete meal with lean protein, veggies and whole grains. Taste the satisfaction. You are winning!
- 4 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 3 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar (unseasoned)
- 1 tsp Thai fried chili oil*
- 1# green beans, trimmed
- 1 tbsp grapeseed oil (or another neutral oil)
- 2 large scallions, thinly sliced with white and green parts separated
- 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1# ground turkey breast
- brown rice, for serving
- *If you can't find Thai fried chili oil (which is difficult to find) you can substitute it with sriracha or sambal oelek. You might want to add more sriracha or sambal then the recipe suggests because the Thai fried chili paste is spicier.
- In a small bowl, whisk together soy sauce, hoisin sauce, rice vinegar and Thai fried chili paste together. Set aside.
- In a large wok or sauté pan, add ⅓ cup of water. Bring to a boil and then add the green beans. Season lightly with salt and cover with a lid. Allow the green beans to steam for 3-4 minutes. They should still be crunchy and bright green. Remove the green beans and set aside.
- Make sure the wok/sauté pan is dry after steaming the green beans, turn the heat to medium-high and then add the grapeseed oil.
- Add the white part of the scallions, ginger and garlic to the pan. Stir frequently for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
- Turn down the heat to medium-low and add the ground turkey. Cook the turkey gently while incorporating the aromatics into the meat. Season with salt and pepper.
- Once the turkey is cooked through add the green beans to the pan.
- Next add the sauce and turn the heat up to medium-high. Allow the sauce, green beans and ground turkey to simmer together, brown and bubble.
- Once the green beans are cooked until crisp-tender and the sauce has reduced and coated the turkey and green beans it's time to serve! Garnish with sliced green onions and serve with brown rice.