Stirfried Broccoli (Chinese or not)

Chinese broccoli, jielan cai in Mandarin, is technically a member of the mustard family. It has long stems, smaller flowers, and a cluster of leaves that surround the flowers. For more information, visit Kitazawa Seed Company, where you’ll find a quick description and some pictures. This is a great vegetable to serve as a foil to heavier, salty food – quick, fresh, and refreshing in its mild pungency. If you cannot find Chinese broccoli, you can replace it in this recipe with our western variety or branch out and try some of the other relatives no available in many markets: rapini, broccolini, “baby broccoli” with its longer stems. The key is to find broccoli with stems intact.

ingredients:

  • 1 bunch Chinese broccoli (or other broccoli)
  • 1 T oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste

method:

  1. Soak the broccoli in cool water for 10 m, then rinse and repeat until no grit settles to the bottom of the bowl or sink.
  2. Cut the florets off the top (and cut into smaller florets – about 1″ chunks – if you’re using western broccoli), and pull off the leaves, keeping these separate from the stems. Chop the leaves into 1″ wide ribbons.
  3. Peel the stems with a vegetable peeler, then cut 1/4″ thick on the diagonal or roll cut for stems that are no bigger than your finger. Cut 1/8″ thick on the diagonal for thick stems, such as those on western broccoli.
  4. Heat the oil in the wok over high heat until it shimmers, explode the garlic until fragrant, then add the stems, stirfrying quickly for 1-2 m until they are bright green and tender but still crisp.
  5. Remove the stems to a plate, add the leaves and florets to the wok, and stirfry quickly until they are bright green and crisp-tender.
  6. Return the stems to the wok, toss everything together with salt to taste, and serve.
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