Vietnamese Lamb Stir-Fry with Green Beans
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Serves: 2-4
A delicious dish to use the bounty of summer beans. It all combines for a sweet-salty-sour-spicy palette together with gamey lamb for a flavorful meal. Adapted from Nigel Slater
  • 3 Tbsp. vegetable, peanut, or other high-temperature cooking oil (not olive oil)
  • 2-3 green onions, chopped finely
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 2 serranos or 3 thai chilis, deseeded and chopped finely
  • 1 lb. ground lamb
  • Green beans, trimmed – about ⅔ lb., or a few large handfuls
  • 1½ Tbsp. lime juice
  • 1½ Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1½ tsp. sugar
  • Handful fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • Salt, as needed
  • Chili sauce, as needed and/or for serving
  • Large handful fresh cilantro leaves and stems, roughly chopped
  • Cooked rice, for serving
  1. Stir-fry flavor base and lamb Heat oil over high in a large wok or shallow pan until very hot and shimmering. Add green onion, garlic, and chilis and cook, moving them around the pan, until they’ve softened but not browned. When they just start to brown at the very edges, add the ground lamb. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to break up the meat into clumps (and continue to do this as it cooks). Cook until the lamb is quite browned, continuing to break it up into small pieces – you don’t want clumps of meat, but more like pea-sized pieces. Cook it until it starts crisping at the very edges, deepening in color and looking more and more delicious. Depending on the fat content of your meat, it may begin to let loose an impressive amount of grease – don’t worry; you can drain it off later.
  2. Meanwhile, blanch beans Either plunge the green beans into boiling water and remove after 45 seconds or pour a kettle of boiling water over beans in a large bowl and let sit for a few minutes before draining. Set blanched beans aside.
  3. Also meanwhile, make sauce Whisk together lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.
  4. Drain oil If needed, you can drain oil out of the lamb pan and discard of it in the same way you do bacon grease (in our house, that means save for future cooking uses). You want to leave enough that the pan is slick on the bottom, but not unappetizingly greasy.
  5. Add sauce, green beans, and herbs With the pan still on high heat, add the basil and stir into the lamb. Let cook for a few moments, then add the green beans and the sauce. Let it sizzle, scraping the bottom of the pan to incorporate any delicious browned bits or gooey spots. Turn off the heat. Taste for salt and chili sauce and add if desired. Before serving, toss in the chopped cilantro.
Storage/making ahead: Leftovers will keep in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, though lamb may lose a bit of crispness. Cilantro can be mixed in before storing or when eating.
Recipe by Honest Cooking by Mercato Fabbrica at