Monday, August 6, 2012

Sambal Oelek Green Beans With Garlic - Another Veggie Tale in the Land of Low Carb

Pardon me while I Bubba Gump the “hay-ulll” outta summer veggies - again? Let's talk Sambal Oelek Green Beans with Garlic - just for grins!

Sambal Oelek Green Beans with Garlic a summertime
staple in the Land of Low Carb. 
Veggies are synonymous with summertime. This is the second post dedicated to Fluffy Chix highlighting or rather, exposing the fact that for most, low carbing isn't simply about meat and more meat on top of meat, served with a side of meat and a wad of fat.

And when somebody says, "Low Carb", it doesn't = "No Carb" (with a wad of fat).

These veggies just scream summertime! And Fluffy Chix Cook or have cooked and talked about most of 'em already, this summer.
Fresh green beans, just picked and ready to go!
Green Beans
Yellow Squash
Green Onions
Corn (there, I said it)
Beets (there, I said THAT too)
Egg Plant (wish I could cook & talk about this, I love it so…but sadly, I’m allergic to it…)

So that brings us back to green beans, I believe I’ve hit the major “playahs” and given a “hollah” to ‘em this summer. But I do believe we are missing the player to be named later, the over-looked green bean.

Happy Family eats JGG Green Beans and thinks that
JGG Valley is where veggies come from!
Back in the old days, I’ve told you we all thought parmesan came in a green can and was pronounced par-meeeeeeee-sssseeeee-ay-un cheese. We also thought veggies sprang magically from the earth in a convenient 14-1/2 ounce can.

Well we also had a couple of other things we thought defined the meaning of life. Like the fact that veggies only grew in the Valley of the Jolly Green Giant.

You remember the Giant, don’t you?

And who could forget his playful little sidekick, Sprout?

WaWa and Fluffy Baby Chix,
Susie learning to walk and
eat canned green beans from
the Jolly Green Giant.
Well, back in the day, we DID think a veg, wasn’t a veg unless those two jolly green folks were in cahoots and makin’ ‘em. It looked like such a swell place to work. For a while when I was a little girl, things were dicey. It was a toss-up between wanting to work with Sprout and JGG or whether I wanted to go live in a little tree and work with elves bakin’ cookies when I grew up.

And the good Lord knows, I adored my mom’s and WaWa’s cookin’! They made the finest slow cooked, JGG Green Beans. They simmered 'em in bacon and onions for a good long time. Oh my. I could drink the pot licker and usually did! It tasted like the finest BPA-laden, chemically-altered bacon, onion, green bean soup on the face of the entire universe – or planet. Take your pick.

Today, we have a six pack of canned green beans in the recesses of the pantry. I admit it. In case of a nuclear Armageddon, or a grid meltdown, or hurricane (since this IS hurricane season), I wanna know we will have food taken care of. In fact, it sits right next to the Spam, salmon and Vienna Sausage! We’re good! The sock monkeys will eat in an emergency situation!

Fresh green beans, await the chopping block!
But my green beans have changed a bit. I now know the secret of the Valley of the JGG. Beans grow there! And some make it out of the Valley - intact! They look like this picture to the left! Who knew? They’re pretty cute, doncha think?

No matter how many different ways I can think to Bubba Gump green beans, and believe me, I can Bubba Gump ANYTHING, so don’t get me started. The one thing in common is this little beauty right below this paragraph.

Garlic will ALWAYS be involved any time green beans make the show.

Why? Well…hmm. Cuz it’s just plain GOOD – you silly – you! Green beans are the perfect garlic delivery system. So use lots, ok?

Fancy green beans with garlic and rosemary and thyme.
Yep, sometimes I fancy it up a bit and simmer garlic in olive oil till the oil is lovely and infused with the savory deliciousness of the garlic. I will toss in a broom of fresh thyme and rosemary that I’ve cut from the herb pots out back and tied with butcher’s twine. And let the herbs go to work on the oil too. Then I will add my blanched green beans and look out!

We’ve gotta party goin’ on right here, now!

It’s a celebration!

Thyme scented green beans with grilled lemon rosemary
chicken with roasted grape tomatoes.
And it’s quite sophisticated. You save the garlic for another dish and take out the herbs and you’re left with a gorgeous oil enrobed green beans, that will sucker punch your palette.

It looks so innocent and virtuous. But on the inside?

On the inside, it’s a power packed party girl with an attitude!

It’ll make your mouth sing and dance the Garner Whip!

Whether you choose a simple garlic green bean sauté, or the thyme bundle garlic surprise, or the oh so spicy and clever Sambal Oelek Green Beans, the steps remain the same.

Step 1 - Wash and cut the stem end off the green beans (I like to leave ‘em whole) and snap them if you must.

Step 2 - Parboil in boiling salted water for 6-8 minutes depending on the level of al dente you prefer. 

Step 3 - Shock in cold water to stop the cooking and to preserve the green color.

Step 4 - Dry them off.

Step 5 - And finish however the heck you wish. You can do the steps up to the big finish, the big reveal, the final song-and-dance, up to two days ahead with little loss of flavor or texture. But most of the vitamins will have said adios!

It’s just that easy. Now go run out to your friendly farm stand or grocery store. The beans are fairly cheap right now – as low as about $1.29/lb and rustle you up a bushel or two. You can even blanch the beans lightly – about 3-4 minutes and freeze them on a sheet tray, then bag n’ tag for later! Best frozen green beans you’ll have by a long shot!

Sambal Oelek Green Beans with Garlic - hooooo doggey!
Sambal Oelek Garlic Green Beans
Serves – 4
Prep Time – 10 Minutes
Cook Time – 12 Minutes
Difficulty – Easy as Pie (although I am not sure I would make pie from green beans…)

1 lb. Green Beans, fresh
3 large cloves Garlic, peeled and sliced
1- 2 tsp. Sambal Oelek
2 Tbsp Kosher Salt

Fill medium saucepan with about 4 inches of water. Add Kosher salt and bring salted water to a boil.

Wash green beans.

Cut the stem ends off the beans. Add green beans to water once it has come to a boil. Set a timer. Time for 6 minutes. Check for doneness. If it’s still too tough, boil an additional minute. Check for doneness. If still too tough, go for one more minute. At 8 minutes, these puppies should be done. Remove them if you have any doubts!

While beans are parboiling, peel and thinly slice garlic cloves. I use a very sharp paring knife or a serrated tomato knife for this.

Shock the green beans in an ice water bath. Toss the beans in the water to get the heat out of the beans as quickly as possible.

As soon as the green beans are cool, remove them from the ice water bath. Believe it or not, they will get too soggy! Let them dry on a paper towel until you are ready to either throw them into the ice box in a sealed container for later use, or you are ready to do the final tango and give ‘em a really big finish! (Thank you Ed Sullivan!)

Add oil to a sauté pan. Yes, sigh. I cheat. I like to use my non-stick pan. I know. I’m not a “real cook.” And look, it's just a little dab of oil!

Add sliced garlic to the pan.

Sauté garlic in olive oil or bacon grease for about 1 minute.

Add green beans and stir to get the garlic off the bottom of the pan so it won’t burn.

Saute green beans and garlic until the beans start to take on color and get browned bits on them.

Now it’s time for the jazz hands! Add that Sambal Oelek! It’s hot! I still add 2 teaspoons (like the ones in your silverware drawer) – but you should probably only add one teaspoon.

Hint: It’s very aromatic. I would add this at the end, off the fire! That way, you shouldn’t be overcome with coughing!

Sambal Oelek with the
gold label.
(Note – Sambal Oelek is a garlic, salty, vinegary chili paste out of Indonesia. It’s glorious. I haven’t found a veggie I don’t adore using it with. Yes, I ended it with a preposition.

This brand is made by Huy Fong Foods, Inc. and is readily found in your international isle or Chinese Food isle of the neighborhood grocery. You can also find it online at Amazon and other online grocers.

I love this brand. It has consistent quality. They don't pay me a cent to talk about them, but I sure wish I had stock in their company cuz of how much we eat. Did I mention it rocks on scrambled eggs, too?

Of course, it makes awesome dipping sauce and sauce for low carb Bahn Mi sandwiches, as well.
Chili Garlic Paste is also good.

There is also a Chili Garlic Paste version but I like the Sambal with the gold label best. The Chili Garlic Paste seems like it's a paler version of Sambal Oelek. It doesn't taste quite as salty or vinegary, and doesn't seem like it has as much garlic flavor even. Which is odd, cuz it says Chili Garlic Paste right there on the jar! Can't you read Indonesian??? Silly.

Sriracha, we call it Rooster Sauce cuz of the big old
rooster on the front and it's so spicy it'll put
hair on your chest and make you crow!

Thank you and hats off to my friend Arlene! I came back and edited here to add this bit of information, just to further confuse you! They also have a sauce known as Sriracha that we call "Rooster Sauce". Sriracha is a kissin' cousin of Sambal Oelek. It is a smooth sauce and to me it doesn't taste as "edgy", but it carries a kick and is awesome, especially in Pho!

I especially love Rooster Sauce on Broccoli that has been either oven roasted or steamed, then sauteed in garlic and olive oil! Oh mama! It's good! Nah. It's great. Nah. It's fan-friggin-tastic!

You CAN make Sambal Oelek at home. This site has a really cool recipe for it. Go visit it! There are other sauces you can use, like Rooster Sauce, also called Sriracha, and they taste awesome!! But Sambal Oelek has a sharper, more vinegary-saltiness and just has to be experienced if you can!)

Sambal Oelek Green Beans with Garlic. It's hot. It's spicy.
It's an Asian garlic fiesta! Even the boys like it!
Now plate those babies and go to town.

I bet you guys fight over the last green bean.

Add an ice cold beer (low carb), if you're of the drinkin' persuasion, a hunk of meat (with a wad of fat) and go to town!! I would if I could but I can't...damn breast cancer!

Nutritional Information

Green Beans with Garlic and Sambal Oelek – Full Recipe

Green Beans with Garlic and Sambal Oelek – Single Serving

SusieT Notes –
Yes, I swear. I will be back next with a meat recipe! Sheesh! You’d think I was a crazy person talking smack about all these veggies! I DO realize we are low carb here and this is a low carb blog about meatalicious pulchritude!

The boys will be glad when I'm "over" my veggie
nonsense as they call it and get back to posting
about meat!
I hope you will try these green beans, even if you only sauté in garlic and call it a day. It’s a quick process and the cooking technique keeps the green beans fresh quality at the forefront! You will wake in the night jonesing for the green beans. I promise!

Complete veggie haters like the boys have been persuaded to partake. Although, they still like to protest about the green in their diet.

Denny used to hate green. Anything green. Slowly over the years, he’s come round to the “dark side” and now enjoys their evil genius! As long as there is garlic involved. And there almost always is…garlic involved.


  1. You know, I did not know what you meant by Sambal-Oelek. In this house we call it "Rooster sauce" (see label) LOL If I make mashed cauliflower (or potatoes for the guys) I always throw a big TBS or two in the water when I cook them. Then I proceed to not inhale for the entire cooking time.
    I hadn't tried it on green beans, but I have a lot of beans ready right now in my straw-bale, yellow and purple. Thank you for the recipe!!

    1. Hi sweetie! Great to see you and hope you like the recipe. Let me know, ok? I can't wait to try it with the cauliflower!!! Great idea!!! I will cook it outside though cuz breathing is highly underrated! :) ;)

      I went back and edited the post cuz you brought up an awesome point!!! I was wondering whether I should mention Sriracha or not! That's what we call Rooster Sauce! Haha isn't language so funny???!!! I put a picture of it up. Which one do you use for the cauliflower?

    2. We call it 'rooster sauce' too and we love it...on lots of things.

      I just found this blog today and love it! I also work from home (transcriptionist)and gained weight staring at my computer screen in my windowless "bomb shelter" as I call it (we have some horrendous storms here in KY and it's also the 'safe room').

      ...oh, and my mom pronounced parmesan EXACTLY like that, too!

      Anyway, love your blog!


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