After New York and my birthday last week, some calorie counting is definitely in order. Chinese broccoli is my favorite Chinese vegetable because it’s easy-to-make, delicious, and filling. The dish takes minutes to throw together and is best served with a hot cup of Chinese tea.I like to cut my Chinese broccoli in sections so that each part is cooked to an al dente texture. The stalky section is crunchy yet tender when cooked right. This veggie is often served not even cut at all, but keeping the pieces shorter makes them easier to eat.
Whenever I make my version of Chinese broccoli, I’m often reminded of the way Ina Garden makes Blanched Crudités. Boiling each section of the stalk separately takes a tad longer than throwing everything into the pot at once, but it’s definitely worth the effort.
For an easy shortcut and if you can find them, I like to use frozen pre-grated cubes of ground ginger (they have crushed garlic too) to flavor the sauce. In a pinch, they add delicious fresh ginger flavor without the fuss. Each cube is one perfect teaspoon, ideal for using in this recipe.I love to enjoy Chinese Broccoli with darker Chinese teas like Pu-erh or Lychee Chinese Black tea. Chrysanthemum-Puerh is also a great choice, like the Black Dragon blend from Radiance Teas in New York. This tea is commonly drank in Hong Kong during Dim Sum–it’s slightly herbal and sweet with a soft amber hue.
Chinese Broccoli (Gai Lan)
1 bundle Chinese broccoli, washed, skinned of tough outer skin, and cut into 3 equal sections
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1. In a small bowl, mix together the ginger, garlic, oyster sauce, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Set aside.
2. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the salt and vegetable oil, then boil the Chinese broccoli, one type of section at a time, roughly according to these times: tough base section (2 minutes), middle section (1 min, 45 seconds), and the leafy top section (1 minute, 30 seconds). After the times are reached, remove the pieces onto a serving plate and arrange for serving.
3. If excess water has collected on the bottom of the plate, drain it off. Spoon some of the sauce on top of the cooked veggies, but not too much. Leave some on the side so that you can later add more to taste.