Chinese broccoli, also known as Chinese Kale or Chinese kale and or Gai Lan is a deliciously versatile member of the brassica family. It looks similar to western broccoli, but has thicker, juicier stems and florets, and is less sharply flavoured making it a popular choice for Asian-style cooking.
Chinese Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable and part of the Brassicaceae family. It is related to mustard greens, cabbage, and broccoli. The vegetable looks similar to broccoli, with thick, juicy stems and bright green leaves, but the taste is milder and sweeter. Chinese broccoli is not only embraced in China, but has become increasingly popular in Western cuisines as well. It is an excellent addition to stir fries and its strong flavor stands up to strong spices and sauces.
Cooked Chinese broccoli has a buttery texture and nutty flavor, and can easily be enjoyed as a side dish, steamed, boiled, or sautéed. The easiest way to cook Chinese broccoli is by steaming it. To make this dish, simply cook the Chinese broccoli in a steamer set over a pot of boiling water. Cover the pot and let it gently cook until the broccoli is tender. Once done, season with salt and pepper or sprinkle it with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
To cook Chinese broccoli in a stir fry, heat a large skillet and add a drizzle of cooking oil. Add the Chinese broccoli and season with a dash of soy sauce and a sprinkling of either garlic powder or freshly grated garlic. Stir-fry the ingredients for about three minutes. If you’d like to add some other ingredients, such as mushrooms, bell peppers, and/or scallions, you can do so at this point. Once cooked, the broccoli should be bright green, tender-crisp and significantly reduced in volume.
When preparing Chinese broccoli, it’s important to remember that the stems can often be quite tough compared to its florets, so be sure to trim them off if they don’t seem to be wilting. You also need to be careful not to overcook your Chinese broccoli, as it will quickly lose its bright green colour.
Cooked Chinese broccoli is a versatile dish that can be served both hot and cold. As a side, it’s delicious tossed with some olive oil and fresh herbs, perhaps accompanied by a lemony or herbed vinaigrette. It can also be used as a base for spicy dishes, or as a complement to mild grilled fish or roasted chicken.
When shopping for Chinese broccoli, look for specimens with bright green leaves, crisp stems, and a mild aroma. Store uncut Chinese broccoli in a paper bag in the refrigerator for up to four days. For cooked Chinese broccoli, it’s best to enjoy it within two days.
In conclusion, cooked Chinese broccoli is a tasty and healthy way to get your cruciferous vegetable servings in, and an ideal side dish to round out any meal. With its mild taste and vibrant colour, it’s no wonder Chinese broccoli has become increasingly popular in Western cuisine. Cooking Chinese broccoli is simple, and a great way to enjoy the flavors of traditional Chinese cuisine.