Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce is an easy, healthy and delicious vegetable dish for everyday meals. I had this dish in Cantonese restaurants many times before I realized how easy it was to prepare at home. This week, I prepared a meal for one of our church families, including this side dish. Little did I know that this particular dish would evoke such fond food memories for one of the family members. So often, foods we grew up eating provide comfort when we are going through tough times.
There are many varieties of Chinese leafy green vegetables that look very different from the typical American leafy green vegetables. Chinese broccoli (called “Gai Lan” in Chinese) is one of my favorite Chinese vegetables. Its appearance doesn’t look like broccoli at all, but the stalks have a slight bitterness similar to broccoli.
Chinese broccoli can be found in Asian grocery stores (I have yet to find them in the regular supermarket). This leafy green vegetable is in the brassica family of vegetables, so it’s related to broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collard greens, and kale. I’d describe the leaves as thinner than collard greens, but thicker than kale. The stems are similar to broccoli but more tender.
How To Cook Chinese Broccoli
The simplest way to cook Chinese broccoli is to cook it in salted boiling water. I added a little baking soda which helps to bring out the bright green color in these leafy green vegetables.
Chinese broccoli takes just a few minutes to cook, depending on the thickness of the stalks. Be sure to trim the bottoms of the stalks before cooking as they can be tough. After the vegetables are cooked, transfer to a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process and to retain the nice green color.
A simple sauce of oyster sauce (use vegetarian oyster sauce if desired), sesame oil, soy sauce and mirin is drizzled on top of the cooked Chinese broccoli. Before serving, you can use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut into bite-size pieces.
Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce is so easy to prepare, and there is virtually no oil in this recipe. The sauce is delicious and complements Chinese broccoli so well.
Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce
- 1.25 pounds Chinese broccoli washed, thick ends trimmed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce use vegetarian oyster sauce if desired
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon mirin
- toasted sesame seeds for garnish
Bring large pot of water to boil; add salt and baking soda. Add Chinese broccoli and press down into boiling water. Cook 2-4 minutes until stems are just tender.
Drain Chinese broccoli and place in a bowl of cold water to stop cooking process. Drain and place on serving dish.
In a small bowl, mix together oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil and mirin. Drizzle on top of cooked Chinese broccoli. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.
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