The Secret To Chinese Restaurant-Style Green Beans Is In The Sauce

chinese-style green beans
chinese-style green beans - Elena Graham/Shutterstock

Chinese buffets and American-style Chinese restaurants are beloved, with menus full of classic recipes. While some of these dishes can be difficult to make in your home kitchen, that's not the case with one flavor-packed side — Chinese restaurant-style green beans.

Green beans have a naturally fresh and light flavor, which makes them an ideal pairing with this dish's sticky, umami and garlic-rich sauce. While it might taste complex, it's typically made from just three main ingredients. First is minced garlic, which is sauteed with the beans in a bit of cooking oil, turning it nutty and slightly crunchy while infusing flavor into the mixture. The second two ingredients are similar but distinct sauces: soy sauce and oyster sauce. They're combined in roughly equal proportions and poured over the beans as they finish cooking.

The heat from the stove will reduce these liquids while caramelizing their sugars on the surface of the green beans. When cooked down, the sauce will thicken and cling to the beans, producing that beloved texture and flavor combination served at many Chinese spots.

Read more: The Most Useless Cooking Utensils, According To Chefs

Don't Be Shellfish With The Oyster Sauce

close up of thick brown sauce
close up of thick brown sauce - kai keisuke/Shutterstock

While just about everyone has used soy sauce, some home cooks may be less familiar with oyster sauce and how to use it. As its name suggests, oyster sauce is made by processing oysters to obtain their juices and then reducing them into a flavorful brownish sauce. Commercially-produced oyster sauce is then seasoned with salt, sugar, additional flavorings, and preservatives. The result is a powerfully savory sauce with briny undertones.

It's essential to consider the dietary and health needs of any people you're making this dish for. Typical oyster sauces aren't suitable for vegetarians, vegans, or those eating gluten-free. However, alternative versions are available that use mushrooms to mimic the umami flavors of oysters.

For an additional textural element and authentic touch for your green beans, finish your dish with a sprinkling of sesame seeds over top before serving.

As delicious as it is, don't limit yourself to just soy and oyster sauces when making green beans. Try out these other ingredients with your green beans to pair with all sorts of meals.

Read the original article on Mashed.