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Q&A

Can I pre-termit blanching or parboiling, when stir frying green beans?

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Chen doesn't write out blanching or parboiling — links to Stack Exchange, not because I like them but because these answers assist — but Step 3 below feels like blanching/parboiling. Which is it? Parboiling? I'm ruling out blanching because Chen doesn't mention plunging or dipping the beans in cold water.

Presume that I'm lazy or hurried, and don't have time to parboil or "[t]ransfer the green beans to a small platter". Can I skip this step?

1 Snap the green beans in half, Rinse in cold water and drain thoroughly.

2 In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, sugar, chili-garlic saucer and wine.

3 In a wok or stir-fry pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil over high heat until the oil is hot, but not smoking. Test by dipping the end of a green bean in the oil; it should sizzle. Add the green beans and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water, stir, and cover the pan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender-crisp 6 to 9 minutes. Transfer the green beans to a shallow platter.

4 Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of canola oil to the same pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, and scallions, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 15 seconds.

5 Return the green beans to the pan. Stir up the soy sauce mixture and add to the pan. Stir briskly until the liquid has nearly evaporated, about 1 minute. Drizzle with the sesame oil and mix well. Serve immediately.

Helen's Asian Kitchen: Easy Chinese Stir-Fries 119.

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This technique is cooking the green beans via steaming. The small amount of water in a very hot covered wok efficiently cooks the green beans via heat transfer from the pan to the steam to the entire surface of the green beans.

The water evaporating into steam also briefly cools the inside of the steam oven (formed by the wok and lid) which allows more time for the green beans to cook evenly, rather than being prone to burning through the cook's inattention.

This is a version of one of favorite ways to eat green beans.

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