Spicy sesame sugar snap peas

By Wendy Andresen | Aug 21, 2019
Photo by: Wendy Andresen

Sugar snap peas and snow peas belong to a group of legumes adorably known as “mangetout” in French, meaning “eat all.” Unlike snow peas and shelling peas, which are Asian by origin, sugar snap peas are thought to be a relatively new variety, a cross between the two. They have fewer calories but more vitamins, minerals, and other plant nutrients than shelling peas. And who can argue with the convenience of not having to shell them? They are available right now at the farmers market and are best eaten as fresh as possible, before their sugar begins to convert to starch. Cook them quickly and gently to maintain their crispness or eat them raw in salads or dunked in your favorite dip. This recipe is quick and easy, and I think it brings out the best in them.


4 cups fresh sugar snap peas (about 12 ounces)

1/4 cup water

1 1/2 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce or liquid aminos (my favorite)

1 1/2 Tbsp. agave nectar

1 1/2 Tbsp. sesame seeds, either black or white or both

1 tsp. toasted sesame oil

1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (less if you’re not a hot-head)

1 Tbsp. water

1 tsp. cornstarch


1. Remove the strings from the peas. The way I like to do this is to hold the snap pea in my left hand and, with my right hand, tweak off the pointed tip along with the attached string, pulling it up along the concave side, up and over with the stem and down the convex side, all in one piece. I know, I should have a video of this. But do it whatever way works for you.

2. In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, agave nectar, sesame seeds, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, 1 Tbsp. water, and cornstarch. Set aside.

3. In a sauté pan with a lid, bring the quarter-cup water to a boil, add the sugar snap peas, reduce the heat to medium low, and cover the pan. Cook the peas for 2 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to cook them evenly.

4. Uncover the pan and continue to cook and stir for another two minutes, until all the water has evaporated.

5. Add the sauce from the bowl and continue to cook and stir until the sauce is thickened and forms a glaze, another minute or two.

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