3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided (I use 2 tablespoons)
1 pound green beans, stemmed and halved on the bias (I just snap them into smaller pieces)
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
Ground white pepper (optional)
In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, fish sauce and soy sauce. Set aside.
In a large Dutch oven or 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil until beginning to smoke. Add the beans and cook, without stirring, until beginning to color, about 3 minutes.
Add the water and immediately cover the pan with a tight fitting lid. Cook until the beans are bright green and barely tender, about 2 minutes.
Clear a space in the center of the pan, then add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil (I don’t add any more oil) to the clearing. Stir in the ginger and pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour the sugar-fish sauce mixture into the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has thickened and coats the beans, about 1 minute.
1 cup chicken broth (I use 1 teaspoon Better than Bullion with 1 cup water)
2 teaspoons grated lime zest
1/4 cup lime juice (approximately 2 limes)
Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
In a large pot over medium-high, melt the butter. Add the chicken and scallion whites, then cook, stirring once or twice, until both the chicken and scallions begin to turn golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the tomato paste, garam masala, cardamom, turmeric, 1.5 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Add the bean liquid, broth, lime zest and juice, then bring to a boil. Reduce to medium and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a simmer, until the chicken is opaque when cut into, 5 to 7 minutes (I like to cook this, partially covered, for at least 15 minutes to allow the chicken to get really tender.
Stir in the scallion greens and the beans, then cook until the beans are heated through, another 2 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Tip: Don’t forget to save the liquid when draining the beans. It adds both body and flavor to the dish. If you do accidentally discard it, simply increase the chicken broth to 2⅓ cups. The braising liquid will be thinner, but the dish will still be tasty.