A wok works best here, though a deep-sided skillet can substitute. The sesame oil here is not the dark, toasted sesame oil.
2 T oil, such as sesame or peanut
1-1/4 lbs fresh green beans, trimmed, cut in half, if desired
1-1/2 t garlic, minced
1-1/2 t fresh ginger root, minced
1/2 t salt
1/4 t coarsely ground black pepper
3 – 4 T fermented black bean sauce,** optional, or soy sauce
1. In a large wok, heat oil over medium-high heat. Stir in green beans; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and ginger; cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in black bean sauce. Continue cooking for a minute.
2. Now, you can stop here, when the beans have some crunch or keep cooking until the green beans become more tender. Delicious either way.
**Fermented black beans are small black soy beans that are first soaked in water with mulberry leaves and a wormwood herb, then fermented in salt and ginger. Both bottled black bean sauce and bags of fermented black beans can be found in the Asian section of supermarkets.
To make a sauce from the bagged beans, mash some beans with sugar, then add some soy sauce along with mirin, sherry or Shaohsing wine.