Gai Lan or Chinese broccoli is one of my favorite green vegetables. It is dark-green, leafy, with thick stalks and some small yellow flower heads. It has a slightly bitter note and is also slightly sweet, and juicy. My favorite part about Gai Lan is its texture. The stalk has a crunchy texture like asparagus, only much juicier. The leaves are mealy and perfect for soaking up plenty of sauce.
One of the easiest ways to prepare Chinese broccoli is to blanch it, then serve it with any sauce of your liking. What I made today is a garlicky chilli sauce – this will become you go-to stir fry sauce for any vegetable, noodle or fried rice stir fry!
2 bunches or ~3lbs or ~6-8 cups of Chinese broccoli/Gai Lan
(tip: try to buy greens with a smaller (more tender) stalk with really dark green leaves)
3 tbsp canola oil
5 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 tbsp chilli garlic sauce (you can use sambal as an alternative)
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp chinese black vinegar (I look for my go to vegetarian brand)
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/4 tsp coarse kosher salt
1/4 tsp raw coconut sugar
In a large saute pan, heat canola oil over medium heat. Add measured chilli garlic sauce and garlic. Fry for 30 seconds. Add the measured black vinegar, rice wine vinegar and soy sauce. Let the sauce cook and reduce, about 2-3 minutes. Turn off heat.
Cut off an inch from the bottom stems from the Chinese broccoli and discard. If your stalks are very thick, just split the stalk in half lengthwise, so it will cook evenly, without overcooking the leafy part. I leave the entire stalk and leaves whole, making the final dish really hearty and saucy!
Wash the prepared Chinese broccoli and transfer to colander. I use the double boiler method to cook the greens.
Bring 8 quarts of water to a boil in a large wide pot. Place the colander of greens over the boiling water and cover with a lid that fits. Blanch/cook for 5 minutes, until the stalks are tender yet crisp.
Transfer the blanched greens to the reduced sauce in the saute pan. Add 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp raw coconut sugar, and toss together gently.
Serve hot with a veggie fried rice, or as in my case, cauli-fried rice!