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.
GREEN VEGETABLES IN YELLOW BEAN GARLIC SAUCE
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
- This recipe cooks up fast so if you are making rice, start that first. Rice noodles are also good (and faster).
- Because this dish cooks so quickly, I like to have all of my ingredients prepped and set beside the stove before I start.
- Heat the oil in a skillet that has a lid, over high heat.
- Add the onion and garlic and stir fry until they begin to brown slightly.
- Add the chilies, yellow beans and chili paste and stir until fragrant (about 30 seconds).
- 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!)
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