Chinese broccoli, gailan, is a kale-like leafy vegetable commonly found in Chinese or Asian markets. Its dark green leaves are firm to the touch, and sometimes they look as if they are coated in a thin layer of milky-colored wax. In any case, it’s a much-loved Chinese vegetable. Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce is the classic way of preparing this vegetable. It’s so easy to prepare and yet, when cooked properly, it tastes like you spent hours in the kitchen. For this recipe, I always blanch the vegetable first before topping it with the oyster sauce. The garlic oil is optional; if used, it infuses this simple dish with an intense aroma.
Serves 4 as part of a multi-course meal
- 8 oz (250 g) Chinese broccoli (gailan)
- Water, for boiling
- 1/4 teaspoon oil
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 2 dashes of white pepper
- Clean the Chinese broccoli thoroughly with cold water and trim off about 1 inch (2.5 cm) of the stems.
- Prepare the Garlic Oil first by heating the oil in a wok or skillet over high heat and stir-fry the garlic until it turns light brown. Dish out the Garlic Oil and set aside.
- Mix all the ingredients for the Sauce in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan and add the oil. Blanch the Chinese broccoli in the boiling water. Remove the Chinese broccoli immediately with a strainer or slotted spoon as soon as they are wilted or cooked, about 1 minute. Drain the excess water. Arrange them on a serving plate.
- Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Transfer the Sauce into the saucepan and stir to blend well. Turn off the heat as soon as the Sauce starts to bubble.
- Pour the Sauce over the Chinese broccoli and then drizzle the Garlic Oil. Serve immediately.
COOK’S NOTE: Older Chinese broccoli has tougher leaves and thicker stems. Blanch them for about 2 minutes. If your Chinese broccoli is younger with thinner stems, reduce the blanching time. In any case, do not overcook the Chinese broccoli. A perfectly cooked (blanched) Chinese broccoli should be green in color, not purple or overly wilted. The stems should remain somewhat crunchy.
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