Green bean mushroom stir-fry is a classically easy recipe plentiful with ginger, garlic, chilies, a simple Asian-inspired sauce, and the crunchy warmth of coriander seeds.
Green beans and mushrooms. It’s all that easy. If you’re cooking long grain rice, you’ll want to get that started first because this recipe goes by in a flash.
Mushrooms – 1 pound (453 gm.) of mushrooms is quite a lot which is one reason I used chestnut mushrooms. Since they grow up to be portobello and I love stuffed portobellos, it's natural. Chestnut mushrooms are brown button mushrooms. I find them to be more flavorful, sturdier, and moisture resistant than the white ones.
You could also use a mix of mushrooms such as Shiitake, but heck, that’s a lot of packages of more expensive mushrooms. Me? I’m happy with what I call ‘regular’ mushrooms. Feel free to experiment.
How to clean mushrooms
First rule: Clean doesn’t mean wash. Mushrooms are edible sponges, and if you run them under the faucet, they will soak up all the moisture you give them. You can end up overcooking them during the cooking process. That can leave you with tiny, shriveled mushrooms with lost flavor.
So how do you clean mushrooms?
First of all, do they need cleaning?
Have a look at your mushrooms. If they have specks of dirt or you can’t live with the idea that even though they are spotless, they must need cleaning, then here’s the best way to clean them.
A paper towel or a dry cloth. I know, high tech. If it makes you feel better, then grab a pastry brush. That works too. Be gentle and brush away any dirt or just wipe each one so you can proceed with cooking without stress.
If your mushrooms are seriously dirty, then resist the faucet, fill a bowl with lukewarm water and give them a quick swish. Don’t leave them to soak and get them into a colander and dry them with a paper towel as quickly as you can.
Use the water tactic only as a last resort and if you are going to cook the mushrooms right away because washed mushrooms don’t keep well. It’s that moisture thing again.
The best way to store mushrooms
The best way to store mushrooms is in a paper bag. Plastic encourages moisture to condense. That leads to slimy mushrooms, and those are gross. If you leave mushrooms in their original plastic package (why are there no paper bags in this house?), open the plastic.
Green beans – Use 8 oz. (226 gm.) of fresh green beans if you can. You can use frozen (1 ½ - 2 cups). Be sure to thaw them before adding them to the mushrooms. Otherwise, the sauce will be watery and not as flavorful.
How to trim green beans
If you buy fresh beans, which I highly recommend, be sure you trim off the ends with the brown stems. I always leave the curly tips because they are tender and give your beans character.
Don’t make a fuss out of the trimming. Line up the beans on the stem end, 15 at a time or as long as your chef’s knife can handle. Then cut them off. Snap the beans in half or cut them if you want to save time. I like to snap each because it forces me to look over each one. If one is mushy, I can toss it.
Garlic and ginger – Grab the garlic press because you want 5 plump garlic cloves. Add 1 tablespoon of minced ginger, about a 1-inch knob, depending on how wide the knob is around.
Fresh red chili – After moving countries a few times, I’ve learned that red chili is a vague term. But I want to temper it with what anyone might have access to. My advice is to look for fresh red chilis that are not super small (Bird’s eye chilis) and check out the hotness level on the package.
A red Thai chili, serrano, or even jalapeno is fine. This recipe calls for 2 chilis. You may want to adjust this depending on how spicy (or not) you like your food.
Removing the seeds and flesh from the inside of the chilis also helps to control the heat. Be sure to wear gloves or wash your hands right after you handle chilis.
Coriander seeds – Coriander seeds come from the coriander (cilantro) plant but taste completely different. Coriander is a warm spice with a mild citrus flavor. They notably are considered well pared with green beans. Fortunate for us!
Cilantro – Love it or hate it, add it or leave it. Chopped cilantro (coriander) adds a peppery, parsley flavor. That flavor description is personal. You may taste it and right away go 'soap' (think Bertie Botts in Harry Potter).
Cilantro is weird because the flavor is slightly unique to everyone. That’s because our sense of taste is on super-charge when we eat it. Even the ¼ of a cup we are using in this recipe can put some diners off, so it’s best to leave it out.
If you are determined to use a chopped herb, flat-leaf (Italian) parsley would be best. Basil will substantially change the flavor.
Rice wine vinegar – White rice vinegar, made from fermented rice, is tart, but mellow, with less acid than regular vinegar. If you need a substitute, white vinegar, lemon juice, or champaign vinegar are good choices.
Soy sauce – It wouldn’t be stir-fry without a splash of umami, and that's why we use soy sauce, not salt. If you’re going gluten-free, use Tamari.
I recommend using a regular or even dark soy sauce for this recipe. I find lite soy sauce to be a bit too toned down when combining it with the mushrooms and other flavors in this recipe.
Date paste – Finally, a little sweetness to balance things out. My go-to is always date paste, which I always have on hand. Liquid sweeteners blend better. You can also opt for agave syrup or maple syrup.
How to make this recipe
You’ll want to be fully prepared before you begin cooking because it’s going to go quickly. This includes starting the rice or making a plan for the noodles.
Mise en place – everything in place
I love this cooking term, but it’s not complicated. Mise en place just means having all your ingredients ready to go before you heat the pan.
Although you only need one wok or skillet to make the stir fry, you’ll need to heat it twice. First, to toast the coriander seeds and then for the rest of the cooking.
No rinsing necessary. Heat the pan, add the coriander seeds, and toast them for 1-2 minutes. Stir them constantly so that they don’t burn.
Once the seeds are toasted, immediately turn off the heat and transfer the seeds to a mortar (the bowl for the pestle) or a small, heavy bowl.
Break the seeds to let their flavor release. If you use a spice grinder, don’t turn them into a fine powder. The crunchy seeds add a pleasing texture and welcome flavor bursts.
Before you heat the pan to finish the dish, combine the rice vinegar, soy sauce, and date paste so that it's ready when you need it.
Heat the pan and begin by sauteing the mushrooms. We’re doing this first so that the mushrooms can release their moisture and it can dissipate before adding the other ingredients.
The mushrooms will give you enough moisture that the rest of the ingredients won’t be inclined to stick to the pan. We like our beans snappy, so I just stir-fried them for about 2 minutes before adding the coriander, garlic, ginger, chilies, sauce, and chopped cilantro. You're at go time in less than a minute.
It’s easy to let the beans overcook. You want them bright green and crisp. If you cover the skillet or wok, they will steam very quickly, so be sure you do that for less than a minute.
If you end up with a whole lot of mushroom moisture, it isn’t crazy to spoon some of it out. It's better than cooking them down to nothing, and no one's gonna notice if you do that.
Although I’d hate for you to miss out on the crunchy, toasty coriander seeds, yes, you can use ground coriander.
Blanching is a process of quickly boiling vegetables and then shocking them with cold water to halt the cooking process. If you do this before adding them to the stir fry, you will only need to heat the beans through as they will already be crispy but tender.
If you use frozen green beans, thaw them by simmering them in boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Alternatively, you can steam them. Be sure not to overcook them once you add them to the stir-fry.
If you don’t have fresh chilis and want added spice, you can add ½-1 teaspoons of red chili flakes. You might also add ½ a teaspoon of Sambal Oelek or another chili paste. Add more if you like it hotter.
A quick weeknight meal is always welcome around here. Now I love stir-fry, but it's not always a simple meal. I've been guilty of overcomplicating it with loads of different veggies and complex sauces. Not that it isn't delicious - but sometimes, time is at a premium.
This recipe taught me that 2 main ingredients and a few aromatics, like garlic and ginger, along with a simple sauce, can make a memorable meal. The kind I’ll make again. Maybe it’s the added touch of toasted coriander seeds or just the ease of it all. I won’t overcomplicate my rationale. I'll just be sure it gets into the rotation.
Other weeknight recipes you might enjoy
green bean mushroom stir-fry
Green bean mushroom stir-fry is a classically easy recipe, plentiful with aromatics, a simple sauce, and the crunchy warmth of toasted coriander seeds.
- Prep Time: 20 min
- Cook Time: 15 min
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: One-pot
- Cuisine: Asian
- Diet: Vegan
- 1 tsp. whole coriander seeds
- 1 lb. (453 gm.) chestnut or button mushrooms, sliced
- 8 oz. (226 gm.) fresh green beans, snapped into bite-sized pieces (1 ½ -2 cups)
- 1-2 red chilis, sliced
- 5 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1 Tbsp. minced ginger
- ¼ cup of chopped cilantro
- ⅓ cup of rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce or Tamari
- 1 tsp. date paste
- Heat a wok or skillet and add the coriander seeds. Toast them for 1-2 minutes, stirring them constantly. Remove them from the heat, then transfer them to a bowl or mortar. Crack the seeds with a pestle or the end of a knife. Set aside.
- Take a moment to combine the vinegar, soy sauce, and date paste. Set aside.
- Heat the same wok or skillet and add the sliced mushrooms. Stir fry the mushrooms to release their moisture (about 3 minutes).
- Add the green beans and continue stir-frying them for 2-3 minutes until they turn bright green. Avoid overcooking them. You want them tender but crisp.
- Add the chopped cilantro, soy sauce mixture, and coriander seeds.
- Mix everything well and simmer for 30 seconds.
- Serve over rice or noodles.
- Mushrooms quickly soak up moisture. If they need to be cleaned, use a paper towel, cloth, or brush. If they shed a lot of excess water during cooking, you can spoon out a bit if it’s too much (although that is not mandatory).
- Fresh green beans work best for this recipe. If you use frozen, thaw them before adding them to the skillet.
- Try not to miss out on the crunchy coriander seeds. If you must make a substitute, use a teaspoon of ground coriander.
Keywords: green bean mushroom stir fry