This recipe was a tiny bit elusive. We first had these green beans down at P.F. Chang’s in the Spectrum in Orange County. It was actually one of our first dates! Mastering this copycat dish has been one of my goals ever since.
Two weeks into seeing each other, I had to go spend a couple weeks helping to run my parents’ businesses while they were on a vacation. I was pretty bummed because, who wants to leave their new boyfriend to go work for two weeks? All alone?
I jokingly (kind of) told AJ that he should drive down to visit on the weekend, and he was pretty meh about the whole idea. But little did I know that he was planning to surprise me, and on a Friday afternoon I got the call letting me know that he was an hour away and needed directions (ha, yeah). Super stoked new girlfriend!
So, that night we went to meander around the Spectrum and find some food to eat. We landed at the bar at P.F. Chang’s and the place was packed, which was definitely okay because it meant cuddling together over a couple plates of food was imminent.
The Spicy Green Beans were among the dishes we ordered, and they totally blew us away. I tried for years to get the recipe just right, and I could never figure it out. I tried baking, barbecuing, broiling, and sauteing, but the results were never quite right.
Eventually, something clicked. I finally figured out that the missing piece was not in the method of cooking them, but in the sauce. How to get that sweet, tangy, and spicy sauce that would perfectly coat the beans?
A few more tries, and I had it right. The secret? Stop getting all fancy with your spices and just use the best dang hot sauce you can find, and use a lot of it. We like Pico Pica.
As it turns out, sauteing is the best method to cook these, because the sauce gets all up in them green beans. And if you cook them quickly over high heat, they will stay crunchy and crispy. No wiggly, insipid beans here, thanks.
Oh yeah, and add a BUNCH of garlic. The more, the better.Print
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 8 oz green beans, trimmed
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1-2 Tbsp hot sauce, to taste
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 tsp cornstarch
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the green beans and cook, stirring every minute or so, until they get little blackened spots all over, about 8 minutes total.
- Combine the remaining ingredients in a measuring cup. If you like it HOT, add 2 Tbsp or more hot sauce. If you like it a bit more mild, just add 1 Tbsp.
- When the green beans are almost done, carefully pour the sauce into the pan. It’ll sizzle viciously and make lots of angry noises. Just stand back and let it do its thing for a bit. Then stir and stir until the beans are totally covered in the sauce. Remove from the heat and serve right away!
These make the perfect flavorful and healthy side to serve along your favorite protein. They’re even great on their own, as a tasty appetizer. Any time fresh green beans are available, this recipe is definitely at the top of my list!
What’s your favorite restaurant copycat? Have you tried these beans? Let us know in the comments below, and please give our recipe a rating!
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Photos by Raquel Smith, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on June 27th, 2014. Last updated: April 23, 2018 at 13:00 pm.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Raquel Smith
Raquel is a whole foods enthusiast, an avid mountain biker, and a dog lover. She works by day at Food Blogger Pro and formerly maintained her food blog "My California Roots" (now being merged into Foodal).