Makes 8 appetizer servings or 4 side dishes
Adjust the amount of red pepper flakes or Chinese chili paste with garlic to suit your taste for heat. These beans make a delicious accompaniment to grilled meat or chicken. or they can be served on their own as an appetizer.
1 tablespoon canola oil 1 pound green beans, trimmed 1/3 cup coarsely chopped onion 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce 2 tablespoons soy sauce 1 tablespoon oyster sauce 1 tablespoon dark (Asian) sesame oil 1 tablespoon water, or as needed 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger 1 teaspoon sugar 2 teaspoons chili paste with garlic (see Tip) or ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes Toasted sesame seeds for garnish
Heat the canola oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beans and onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are crisp-tender and blackened in spots, about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on their thickness.
Meanwhile, whisk together all the remaining ingredients, except the sesame seeds, in a small bowl. Stir in more water as needed until the sauce has a cake-batter consistency. Set aside.
Remove the beans from the heat. Add the sauce and stir until the beans are evenly coated. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
To serve, transfer the beans to a platter and garnish with sesame seeds. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Advance preparation The beans can be prepared up to 1 day in advance; cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature for serving.