Perhaps vegetables are not close to your heart. Maybe leafy ones are even at the very bottom of your list, in the extremely, no-doubt-about-it, can’t even touch this, hate-hate-hate category. However, maybe I can change your mind about this leafy green called Chinese Broccoli. Chinese Broccoli is similar to the broccoli crowns you would find at your wholesale grocery store, but it is characterized by its long stems, small flower buds and large flat leaves.
Growing up, the only way my mom prepared Chinese broccoli was with oyster sauce, and probably the only way I will ever cook it as well. Why? Because it is so easy to prepare that I have always had time to make a more complex meat dish to go along with it. It takes less than fifteen minutes. And if you are like me and make the mistake of grabbing an “older” broccoli bunch past it’s prime at the Asian grocery store, then you will also discover that oyster sauce magically turns the normally bitter vegetable into sweet delicious churros. OK, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it’s close. The leaves of the Chinese broccoli soak up the sweet sauce (aka Chinese BBQ sauce) and it feels like you’re eating dessert in vegetable form.
So how do you pick a bundle of fresh Chinese broccoli at the Asian market? When selecting Chinese broccoli, make sure the leaves are crisp and full and the stalks have a consistent color to them. If the flower buds have fully opened, the Chinese broccoli is likely past its prime and very bitter. You’ll want to select another bunch.
Also, pick up Lee Kum See’s brand of oyster sauce while you’re at it, the only brand I’ve seen my family use. You can also buy it online here.
Five Ingredient Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce (芥蘭)
- 12 stalks Chinese broccoli, ends trimmed and cut in 5 inch lengths
- 2 T. oyster sauce
- 1/4 tsp. sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 T. water
- Oil for frying
Bring half a pot of water to a boil and sprinkle in 1/4 tsp salt. Place Chinese broccoli in the boiling water and cook for about 4 minutes. Remove and drain.
Combine the oyster sauce, sugar, and water in a small bowl.
Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a wok or large pan. Add the Chinese broccoli to the pan and stir-fry for a minute or until the Chinese broccoli has softened but is still bright green. Add the oyster sauce mixture and mix until well-incorporated, about 30 seconds.
Feel free to drizzle more oyster sauce over the dish if needed. Serve with rice and another main dish.
You can buy oyster sauce here or at your local Asian grocery store.