Portuguese Deep-Fried Green Beans

Portuguese Deep-Fried Green Beans

In Portuguese, this dish is called peixinhos da horta, or “little fish from the garden.” The name comes from the fact that once the beans are cooked, they resemble a tangle of slender fried fish that are popular in Portugal. Serve them as a side dish, a starter, or even a snack.–David Leite

Portuguese Deep-Fried Green Beans

  • Quick Glance
  • (3)
  • 30 M
  • 45 M
  • Makes 6 to 8 servings
5/5 - 3 reviews
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Special Equipment: Deep-fry or candy or instant-read thermometer



Heat the oven to the lowest setting possible. [Editor’s Note: On some ovens this is the “warm” setting, while on others it’s a temperature of 135°F (57°C).] Place a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet and slide it in the oven.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice water. Add the beans to the pot of boiling water and cook until almost tender but still slightly crisp, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, drain the beans and transfer them to the ice water to stop the cooking. Drain the beans again, transfer them to paper towel-lined plates, and pat them completely dry.

Heat the oil in a deep fryer or a large saucepan over medium-high heat to 350°F (175°C).

Combine the flour, water, eggs, baking powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl and whisk until a smooth batter forms. Dip about a dozen beans at a time into the batter and them remove them, using tongs or your fingertips, and shaking off any excess batter. Add the beans to the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beans to paper towels to drain for a few moments. Sprinkle the deep-fried green beans with salt and then carefully strew the greens beans on the wire rack in the oven to keep warm. Repeat the dipping and frying with the remaining green beans and batter. Serve whatever beans haven’t been snatched up by spouses, kids, in-laws, or neighbors with good noses immediately.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

These beans were easy to make and the end result was fantastic. I used my deep fryer, and everyone was coming up and eating the beans as I pulled them out. Our one-year-old granddaughter couldn’t get enough of these. All of the young ones just kept eating and eating. Some of them dipped them in ranch dressing, but most ate them plain. This recipe is a keeper.

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  1. Oh I love these things! My kids would eat them like candy when they were young.

    You can actually skip the step of pre-cooking them and icing them … just slice the beans vertically in half, leaving the two halves still attached at one end. Dredge them in the batter and fry. This is how they make them in my town in Portugal and they turn out crispier this way.

  2. Oh thank you for posting this! Am cooking them now – and my picky 4-year-old who hates veggies just devoured two of them. Yummy!

  3. This looks fantastic! Growing up in an Azorean household, I hated vegetables (even sopa de couve!!) It turns out, my mother, and most women in my family, don’t know how to cook vegetables. This recipe looks great and I can’t wait to try it.

  4. Nuno, actually I have a recipe in my new book that features a batter made lighter by the use of carbonated water. It’s adapted from a recipe by José Avillez.

  5. This is the original tempura, which [it’s believed that] the Portuguese took it to Japan in the 16th century. The Italians fry almost every fresh vegetable using this technique. You can make the frying batter lighter by using carbonated instead of plain water.

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