Green Vegetables in Yellow Bean Garlic Sauce

You may not realize that you have eaten yellow-bean garlic sauce, but if you have ordered long beans or water spinach at a Thai or Vietnamese restaurant in an attempt to counteract the quantity of coconut milk curry and fried spring roles that will be consuming…chances are you have had this sauce.  It’s a very versatile sauce.  I have used this sauce for long beans, asparagus, water spinach, bok choy, broccoli and pea shoots and it’s always delicious.  You don’t have to consume it as part a restaurant sized feast.  Green vegetables prepared this way and served with rice noodles make me a very good lunch, especially if you have thrown in a carrot or a red pepper for color and sweetness.

For whatever reason, I am not a fan of  the salted black beans used in asian black bean sauces, but I do like yellow bean sauces, which are made with soy beans.  Sadly, most yellow bean sauces use wheat as a thickener, so I can’t eat them.  The exception is Yeo brand hot bean sauce which is gluten-free but contains MSG.  Arg.  I recently read this fabulous article about compiling a gluten-free asian pantry which suggested substituting a combination of gluten-free hatcho miso paste and sambal oelek, which I think will totally work!

Also, If you are on a gluten-free diet, please take care with the brands of fish and oyster sauce that you use for this recipe.  I recommend Lee Kum Kee’s Panda Brand Green Label Oyster Flavoured Sauce and I have read that Choy Sun Oyster Flavoured Sauce is also gluten-free.  In addition to being gluten-free these brands are also MSG free.  I recommend Tiparos fish sauce because in addition to being gluten-free it is also the best tasting fish sauce (in my opinion and the opinion of my friend Bethany who is both Laotian and an excellent cook).  I also sometimes buy golden boy brand fish sauce (which is also gluten-free and tastes pretty good) because I get drawn in by the adorable painting of a baby on the label.


adapted from The Best of Vietnamese and Thai Cooking by Mai Pham

  • 2 Tablespoons mild oil
  • a small onion, sliced
  • 6 cloves of garlic, sliced (sometimes I use more!)
  • 2 chili peppers (Optional. I use minced jalapeno, but Thai bird chilies would be more authentic)
  • 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons whole yellow beans, yellow bean sauce or hatcho miso
  • 1/2 teaspoon sambal oelek (chili paste) or more to taste
  • 1 small carrot, julienned (optional)
  • 1 small red pepper, julienned (optional)
  • 1 pound of trimmed asparagus, long beans, broccoli, water spinach, bok choy or pea shoots (or a mix of these things)
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon oyster sauce
  1. This recipe cooks up fast so if you are making rice, start that first.  Rice noodles are also good (and faster).
  2. Because this dish cooks so quickly, I like to have all of my ingredients prepped and set beside the stove before I start.
  3. Heat the oil in a skillet that has a lid, over high heat.
  4. Add the onion and garlic and stir fry until they begin to brown slightly.
  5. Add the chilies, yellow beans and chili paste and stir until fragrant (about 30 seconds).
  6. Add the vegetables, fish sauce and oyster sauce, cover and cook until the vegetables are bright green and tender (time will vary depending on what vegetable you are using!)


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Bethany says:

    Panda is also the best brand of oyster sauce, but oyster sauce brand isn’t as important as fish sauce brand. The mushroom based vegetarian stir fry sauce is a good alternative to oyster sauce too.

    1. Oooooh yeah mushroom sauce is really delicious…I don’t know if its gluten free or not.

  2. A little bit of inspiration makes a big tasting dish!

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