Garlic green beans are a staple at most Chinese-American restaurants here in the US. They're usually bright green, well-blistered, yet still snappy and delicious. Cooking green beans at home rarely yield the same results, as most of us typically opt to saute our green beans. While sauteing can definitely achieve delicious green beans, I set out to experiment various cooking methods and temperatures at home to replicate my favorite restaurant garlic green beans -- the ones you can get at Din Tai Fung.
What are Din Tai Fung garlic green beans?
Din Tai Fung is a Taiwanese restaurant chain that's most famous for their perfectly-pleated soup dumplings (xiao long bao). In addition to their xiao long bao, they also have a variety of popular entrees and side dishes, one of my favorites being their garlic green beans. It’s such a simple dish, but executed flawlessly: they’re perfectly snappy, blistered, and lightly coated with a fragrance of garlic.
I spent an entire day experimenting with different cooking methods, temperatures, and cook times, and I’m so excited to share with you a recipe that I feel is nearly identical to Din Tai Fung’s!
A few musts to get the perfectly blistered and snappy garlic green beans:
While air-frying and sauteing can certainly get you great tasting green beans, flash frying in hot oil achieves the best texture that’s closest to Din Tai Fung and Chinese restaurants’. One important thing I learned through experimenting with multiple batches is that the longer you cook the green beans, the softer and duller (in color) they get. When flash-frying, you only need to fry it for 15-30 seconds* — it's the quickest way to cook the green beans, which helps it retain the bright green color and achieve the beautifully blistered skin without sacrificing texture.
Frying oil temperature
When flash-frying these green beans, the oil needs to be at least 350-375F for them to cook and blister quickly. If you try frying at a lower temperature, the green beans will need to be cooked longer to achieve the blistered skin — and the longer cook time leads to softer, less snappy green beans.
Small batch cooking
Frying in small batches prevents the green beans from cooling down the oil temperature. As you know from the above point, when the temperature gets below 350F, you’ll have to cook them longer, which results in dull and soft green beans instead of the bright and crunchy you’re looking for. Alternatively, if you’d like to be more efficient and fry it all at once, you can use a large wok or pot to flash-fry in a lot of oil. The larger amount of oil will take longer to heat up, but it will retain the temperature better. For me, I like frying in a smaller pot so that I have less leftover fry oil, therefore I stick to frying in small batches.
*cook time will vary depending on how thick the skins of the green beans are
Interested in cooking other Chinese vegetable dishes?
Chinese cuisine includes such a wide variety of vegetables -- I will eventually feature most of the popular ones on this website one day, but here are a few I have up that are definitely worth checking out!
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Din Tai Fung Garlic Green Beans
- digital thermometer recommended to measure and maintain oil temperature
- splatter screen optional to shield from oil splatters
- 8 oz green beans
- 4-6 cloves garlic
- chicken bouillon powder (veg option: mushroom bouillon powder)
- neutral oil for frying
Prepare the ingredients
- Mince the garlic and set aside.4-6 cloves garlic
- Trim both ends off the green beans. Wash and dry thoroughly with a clean kitchen towel. Drying thoroughly prevents oil splatter when frying.8 oz green beans
Fry the green beans in small batches
- Fill up a medium-sized pot with about ½ inch to 1 inch of neutral oil. Heat the oil to at least 350F. While the oil heats up, prepare a plate with a layer of paper towel. This is where you'll put the fried green beans to drain off excess oil.neutral oil
- Separate green beans into 3 equal batches. Carefully drop the first batch into the oil -- it should splatter and bubble rapidly. Use a splatter screen if you have one!
- Fry for 15-30 seconds (or until the skins of the green beans look blistered), then remove onto the paper towel-lined plate.
- Heat the oil back up to 350F again and fry the second batch of green beans. Repeat with last batch. Dab off any excess oil.
Make the garlic oil and combine
- In a clean pan, heat up 1 tablespoon of leftover frying oil with the minced garlic. Add a tiny pinch of salt, pinch of chicken or mushroom bouillon powder, and cook on low until fragrant. We're not looking to brown the garlic -- we're just gently releasing the garlic aroma into the oil.4-6 cloves garlic, salt, chicken bouillon powder
- In a large bowl, combine the cooked green beans, cooked garlic + oil, and salt (I used about ⅛ tsp, but adjust to your taste). Toss well and it's ready to serve!