Inside: An easy recipe for Sichuan-style beans. This spicy, garlicky mala air fryer green bean recipe is a tasty side dish to complement your favorite Chinese main dishes. This dish is vegan, healthy, and cooks up in minutes!
Have you ever ordered a side of mala green beans at a Chinese restaurant? It’s one of my favorite side dishes and everyone seems to just love them. In Chinese, mala translates to “numbingly spicy” and gets this delightful flavor from Sichuan peppercorn. If you’ve never tried Sichuan peppercorns, you’re in for a treat! We love adding this spice to our vegan mapo tofu dish, sprinkling it in stir-fries, and using it in all kinds of dipping sauces. Sichuan peppercorn has such a unique flavor – you absolutely cannot create this dish without it. You also can’t substitute black peppercorn for this either, sorry!
You can pop into your local Asian market or find them online. I buy them whole, and then I put a few tablespoons in a dry skillet (no oil or water) and gently toast them for a few minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when they become fragrant. I think this step really enhances the flavor. Then, you can drop whole Sichuan peppercorns in marinades or if you’re simmering a seasoned soy sauce, or grind them up to sprinkle in stir-fries or dishes like mapo tofu or kung pao.
My husband got me a beautiful porcelain mortar and pestle a few years ago, but no worries if you don’t have one. You can place the toasted peppercorn in a plastic ziplock bag and gently roll over them with a rolling pin to crush/grind.
This easy Air Fryer green bean dish uses minimal ingredients, but that means that they are all pretty important for the flavor profile. Here’s what I use in this quick Sichuan green bean recipe:
Sichuan-Style Air Fryer Green Bean Ingredients
Green beans – traditionally this dish is made with Chinese long beans. Also called “snake beans” these are much longer than regular green beans, and not quite as sweet or crunchy. I’ve seen them in Asian markets, but I created this recipe with the usual green beans that I found at my local Kroger. Either will work, and you’ll want to make sure you’re using fresh beans. I have not tested this recipe with frozen green beans, but if you do – please let me know!
Sesame oil – sesame oil has such a wonderful nutty flavor and aroma. I prefer to buy toasted sesame oil but any will work. Not only does this add a little fat for the air fryer to do it’s magic, but it also adds wonderful flavor. I would not substitute another oil for this.
Soy sauce – there are lots of soy sauce brands on the market, but I’m partial to a fermented soy sauce. It’s so tasty! We always stock up on it at the Asian market. It’s usually under $2 and we’ll grab 5 or 6 bottles at a time. You can use whatever soy sauce, or tamari that you have on hand.
Chili-garlic sauce – this is another staple in our house! A little goes a long way to add great flavor and heat, and we put chili-garlic sauce on everything! Noodles, marinades, sauces, stir-fries…we go through a lot of this at our house. It’s also delicious as a dipping sauce mixed with a bit of mayo.
Garlic – I used fresh garlic and chopped it instead of mincing it like I do for most of my dishes. I did this because I didn’t want the garlic to overcook in the Air Fryer. The sesame oil coated garlic browns beautifully and turns nice and crunchy.
Sichuan Peppercorns – I like to lightly toast these and then grind to use in this recipe.
Sichuan-Style Air Fryer Green Beans
An easy recipe for Sichuan-style beans. This spicy, garlicky mala air fryer green bean recipe is a tasty side dish to complement your favorite Chinese main dishes. This dish is vegan, healthy, and cooks up in minutes!
- 3/4 lb green beans, ends trimmed
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground Sichuan peppercorn
- 1 large clove chopped
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp chili-garlic sauce
Put trimmed green beans in a bowl. Preheat Air Fryer to 400 degrees.
Add salt, ground Sichuan peppercorn, garlic, and sesame oil. Gently toss with tongs to cover.
Add seasoned green beans to Air Fryer plate or basket, and air fry for 6 minutes. Shake well, and continue air frying for another 5-6 minutes, or until green beans are blistered and slightly charred.
While beans are cooking, mix together soy sauce and chili-garlic sauce.
Add beans to serving plate and drizzle with soy chili-garlic sauce.
Sichuan-Style Air Fryer Green Beans In Photos:
Rinse and trim 3/4lb of fresh green beans.
In a bowl, season green beans with salt, Sichuan peppercorn, and chopped garlic. Drizzle on sesame oil, and coat well, using tongs.
Add to your preheated Air Fryer and air fry for 6 minutes. Gently shake green beans and cook for another 5-6 minutes.
While beans are cooking, mix together soy sauce and chili-garlic sauce in a small bowl.
When beans are blistered and garlic is brown and crunchy, they are done! Add to plate and drizzle with sauce.
I hope you like this quick and easy recipe for Sichuan-style Air Fryer green beans!