FRENCH BEANS THAI-STYLE, WITH CHILE AND BASIL (for four)
1 pound French beans, washed and drained, ends snapped off and beans cut into 2 inch lengths
3 tablespoons peanut oil
8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons nam prik pao (Thai roasted chile paste) or any jarred Asian chili paste
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 cup torn Thai basil leaves
- Drop the beans into rapidly boiling salted water. Cover briefly, to bring the water quickly back to a boil, then immediately remove the cover. Boil uncovered until the beans are just cooked through but retain a slight crunch of texture –4 to 5 minutes. Test by eating several. Drain the beans immediately when they are done and run them under cold water or plunge into a basin filled with ice cubes and water. Drain again and pat dry with paper towels.
- Heat a 14 inch flat bottomed wok or skillet over high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. When the oil is hot and almost smoking, add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 10 seconds. Add the beans and stir fry for 1 minute.
- Stir in the chile paste, toss to coat the green beans and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are hot. Add the fish sauce and basil, stir to combine and serve.