According to Epicurious, "The secret to making Chinese green beans is a cooking technique called 'dry-frying' (gan bian) - frying the green beans until the skin starts to pucker and turn brown. This makes them extra tender."
Instead of being deep-fried, these green beans are tossed with a small amount of oil and briefly broiled.
The results are very similar, but much lower in fat.
1 t sugar
1 t soy sauce
1 t ground bean sauce*
1 t chili garlic paste**
1 t Sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
1 T water or chicken stock
1/4 t sesame oil
1/2 t canola or olive oil
1 t minced ginger
1 t minced garlic
1 green onion, thinly sliced (both green & white parts)
* Koon Chun Ground Bean Sauce, Lee Kum Kee Ground Bean Sauce
**Huy Fong Chili Garlic Sauce, Lee Kum Kee Chili Bean Sauce (Toban Djan)
Put your oven rack on the second-to-top location and preheat the oven to broil.
Line a sheet pan with non-stick foil.
Combine sauce ingredients.
In a large bowl, toss the green beans with oil and season with salt and pepper.
Go easy on the salt, because you'll be adding more salty stuff, like soy sauce and bean sauce.
Arrange the green beans in a single layer on the foil-lined sheet pan.
Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Broil until beans are blistered and very lightly charred. This only takes a couple of minutes, so don't walk away!
If you're using haricots verts, remove the pan from the oven now. For regular green beans, use a spatula to stir and flip the beans, then broil again the same way.
Remove the pan from the oven and set aside. You can do this hours in advance.
Heat a wok or heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the oil, ginger & garlic. Stir & cook one minute.
Add the broiled green beans and sauce.
Cook, stirring, until the beans are hot and the sauce is thick and clingy.
Remove from the heat and sprinkle with sliced green onions.
The Johnson Family Cookbook