Bento filler: French green beans with carrot and ginger

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Fresh green beans are available year round, but their real season in the northern hemisphere is the summer to early fall. I count crispy green beans among one of my favorite vegetables, so I enthusiastically eat as much as possible.

There are several kinds of green beans - large and fat, flat and broad, and so on. These are skinny little haricots verts or French beans. They can be rather expensive, so I like to cook them as minimally as possible. Here they are paired with julienned fresh ginger and carrot, stir fried then steam-cooked in a frying pan. The ginger adds some heat and the carrots add sweetness. They are cooked in less than 5 minutes, though allow some extra time to cut the ginger and carrot. You can use fatter green beans if you can't get haricot verts - allow for a couple more minutes of cooking time.

This is great hot or cold, so it's a very good bento vegetable dish. It will hold in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days, so if you buy a big bag of green beans at the market it's worthwhile to make a batch of this.

Recipe: French green beans with carrot and ginger

  • 2 large handfuls of fresh thin green beans
  • 1 small piece of fresh ginger (to result in about 1 tsp. julienned)
  • 1/4 carrot (to result in 2 Tbs. julienned or grated)
  • 1/2 Tbs. light olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbs. mirin
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce

Cut the tough stem end of the green beans off, and cut the beans into two or three pieces diagonally.

Peel and finely julienne (or chop) the ginger.

Peel and finely julienne the carrot. You can also grate it in long strips with a grater or vegetable slicer/mandoline (see essential equipment).

Heat up a frying pan and add the oil. Add the ginger and stir a minute. Add the carrot and green beans. Add all the seasonings. Put on a lid and let it steam cook for about 3 minutes.

Open the lid and stir around over high heat until any moisture has evaporated away. Cool before packing into a bento box.