A few years ago, my friend Sheri and I were lunching at PF Chang's. We were excitedly talking about her growing online yarn company, The Loopy Ewe; and as often happens, we lost track of time. After one hour stretched into two, our kind waiter brought out a complimentary plate of their Spicy Green Beans for us to try. Sheri and I cleaned the plate (mind you, we'd already finished lunch), and loved the dish so much that I promised to figure out how to make it. That's how today's recipe came about. After a few attempts, I came up with a sauce that is very close to what we sampled that day.
I've used the same flavorful sauce on green beans and asparagus. Truth is, it can be tossed with any steamed vegetable you like--the procedure is exactly the same. Although I like mine spicy, it's very easy to omit the spicy seasoning if you prefer a milder dish. Either way, it's a savory combination and a tasty way to add some zip to your veggies.
It's gluten free, vegetarian and vegan. I used a gluten free tamari soy sauce that was available at my local grocery store.
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION for 1/4 lb serving: 87 calories, 3g fat, 362mg sodium, 13.9g carbs, 2.7g fiber, 8.8g sugar, 3.5g protein; Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 2. NOTE: The sodium, sugar, carbs, and fat numbers all are higher than what is actually consumed, because much of the sauce ends up on the bottom of the plate.
Step-by-step photos for making
Asian Asparagus or Green Beans
Step 1. Assemble the ingredients.
Step 2. Mince the garlic. I used a garlic press.
Step 3. Peel the ginger--you can easily scrape off the peel with the end of a spoon. Then grate the ginger--a microplane is my tool of choice for this.
view on Amazon: Microplane grater/zester
Step 4. Toast the sesame seeds in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Toss and stir them frequently so they brown evenly. Keep a close watch on them; they can go from golden to burned quickly. As soon as they're lightly toasted and fragrant, pour them onto a plate to cool. (If you leave them in the hot skillet, they may burn before they cool down.)
Step 5. Steam the asparagus, just until tender but still crisp. Try this easy microwave method I learned from celebrity chef, Alton Brown. Saturate a double-sheet length of paper towel with water, wring it out, spread up to 1 lb. of asparagus in a single layer on the wet towel, and roll it up. Microwave at full power until it's tender crisp (3 minutes in my microwave--yours may vary). Use tongs to remove the bundle from the microwave--it gets very hot! Roll it out, and you've got perfectly steamed asparagus. I used 2 lbs. of asparagus in this recipe, so I repeated this method twice. SO EASY.
If you prefer not to cook in a microwave, use a stove top pan with a steamer insert to steam the asparagus.
Set the cooked asparagus aside for now.
Step 6. In a small bowl whisk together equal parts of corn starch and soy sauce; set aside.
Step 7. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat; add garlic and ginger and saute for 1 minute.
Step 8. Add to the skillet the remaining soy sauce, honey, sherry, Sriracha, & sesame oil. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.
Step 9. Whisk in cornstarch/soy sauce mixture; stir and heat until thickened.
Step 10. Add asparagus to the skillet and toss gently until evenly coated with sauce. The asparagus will reheat as you toss it in the hot liquid.
view on Amazon: wire whisk
Step 11. Transfer asparagus to a platter and drizzle remaining sauce over the top.
Step 12. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Done! This can be served warm, at room temperature, or cold. How's that for versatility?
Tongs are the best tool for serving asparagus and green beans.
view on Amazon: small serving tongs
Make-ahead tip. You can make this a day ahead and refrigerate it until serving time. If you reheat it to serve warm, don't over do it or the asparagus will get over cooked. If you're serving it at room temperature, remove it from the fridge a half hour before serving.
It can be served with a number of main dishes. I especially like it with grilled chicken or fish. This asparagus paired with grilled salmon is my favorite.
Make it Yummy day!