Chinese Broccoli with Garlicky Ginger Miso
In this recipe for Chinese Broccoli (Gai Lan), you’ll learn:
- Old Chinese broccoli can be very bitter and stringy. Learn how to choose fresh Chinese broccoli.
- How to cook thick Chinese broccoli stems without over-cooking the delicate leaves.
- How to make a savory garlicky ginger miso sauce that pairs well with any vegetable dish
What is Chinese broccoli? It comes from the same family as traditional broccoli, but it has a stronger, more pronounced taste. It’s bitter if you eat it raw, which is why it’s always cooked.
In Chinese, it’s gai-lan or kai-lan, pronounced “guy-LAN”
The stems are thick, the color of the leaves is more like kale (blue-green). While the florets of regular broccoli is eaten – many open florets on Chinese broccoli often means the vegetable is old and tough. The stems and leaves is what you eat.
Did you know? Broccolini is a cross between broccoli and gai-lan.
How to Tell if Chinese Broccoli if Fresh
Chinese broccoli should have very few florets. If you see small white flowers blooming, it probably means it’s past it’s prime and will be tough and bitter.
Also take a look at the bottoms of the stems – fresh young Chinese broccoli will have a wet-milky-transluscent-ish color in the center of the stem. Old Chinese broccoli stem will be dried up with a hard, white opaque center. Skip it.
Here’s a photo of fresh Gai Lan with soft, opaque-ish milky center.
Chinese Broccoli with Garlicky Ginger Miso Recipe
Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
Cut the Chinese broccoli like this, which helps the vegetable cook evenly. The stems are thick, so they go at the bottom of the pan, which is hotter.
Add 1″ of water to your wok, then add in the stems on the bottom.
Lay the leaves on top.
Other Chinese Vegetable Recipes
Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce (Steamy Kitchen)
Chinese Yu Choy Stir Fry (Steamy Kitchen)
Stir Fried Bok Choy Recipe (Steamy Kitchen)
Restaurant Style Chinese Greens (Rasa Malaysia)
Stir Fried Nai Bai (Noob Cook)
Chinese Broccoli Beef Noodle Stir Fry (Steamy Kitchen)
- 1 pound Chinese broccoli gai lan
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic finely minced
- 1 teaspoon hot chili pepper minced (optional)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons miso paste
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
- Trim ends of the Chinese broccoli. Line up the Chinese broccoli with the stems facing same direction. Cut the stalks in half to separate the thick stems from the leaves.
Add one inch of water to a wok, pot or large saute pan and bring to a simmer on medium heat. Layer in the broccoli stems at the bottom of the pan and layer the leaves on top of the stems. You want the thick stems closer to the bottom of the pan so that they will cook faster. Steam for 3 minutes. Use tongs to lift the leaves to a plate. Check the stems to make sure they are cooked - they should be easily pierced with a knife. Thicker stems might need an additional minute.
Discard the remaining water in the pan and wipe dry with a towel. Return pan to the stove and add in the cooking oil and ginger, garlic and chile pepper. Turn the heat to medium-low. Once the oil in the wok begins shimmering, cook for another 15 seconds (take care not to burn the aromatics). Stir in the miso paste, water, soy sauce and sesame oil and cook another 15 seconds. Add the Chinese broccoli back into the pan, give everything a quick stir, then plate for serving.