Spicy Green Beans with Chilli and Garlic

“The traditional Nonya recipe for this dish calls for kangkong or water spinach, but sometimes, as we do not always have access to good-quality fresh Asian vegetables, I substitute French/green beans,” explains chef Elizabeth Haigh.

Read more: Dill, Lemon and Green Bean Pilaf

“Although I am fond of kangkong, I think this dish is actually better made with the beans because of their crunchy texture. It is also more affordable. If you want to make this vegetarian/vegan just omit the dried shrimps, belachan and pork floss.”

Serves: 2 as a side dish


  • 1 tablespoon dried shrimps
  • 6 dried red chillies
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 banana shallots, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 2 teaspoons belachan (fermented shrimp paste)
  • 250g green beans, trimmed and cut into 1.5cm pieces
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons pork floss (rousong), optional
  • salt


Soak the dried shrimps and chillies in warm water for at least 10 minutes or up to one hour, then drain. If you don’t want the dish to be too spicy, remove the seeds from the chillies, then place them in a blender with the soaked shrimps, garlic and shallots. Blend together to make a rough paste.

Read more: Spicy Lemon Ginger Chicken

Heat the oil in a wok over medium heat. Add the chilli-shrimp paste and stir-fry until aromatic, then add the belachan and stir for a couple more minutes to cook the paste out.

Turn up the heat slightly, add the green beans and give it all a good stir. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes. Add the water to help ‘steam-cook’ the beans and season with salt, then turn the heat down and continue cooking for four to five minutes or until the beans are tender (no more than seven minutes in total).

Serve immediately with pork floss sprinkled on top, if using.

Read more: Asian Pork Balls

Makan: Recipes From The Heart of Singapore by Elizabeth Haigh is published by Bloomsbury Absolute, available now.

– With PA

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YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices Writershttp://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/
YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.
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