Here’s what you’ll learn:
- How to choose and buy the freshest Chinese broccoli (gai-lan)
- The perfect marinade recipe
- Secrets to no-fail Chinese stir fries
Chinese Broccoli (Gai-Lan)
Chinese broccoli should be almost all stem and green leaves. Look for Chinese broccoli with minimal open flowers (lots of open white flowers means that the Chinese broccoli is past its prime and bitter.
You can also tell from the cut stems if the Chinese broccoli will be perfect or too old. See the bottoms of these cut stems? It’s milky-translucent and smooth. If the bottoms of the stem have a hard white circle in the middle (instead of smooth, milky and translucent) it will probably be past its prime and taste tough and bitter.
Photo below is Chinese Broccoli…see the beautiful stem-bottoms?
For this Broccoli Beef Noodle Stir Fry recipe, you can use ANY type of noodles. Really, spaghetti noodles are fantastic in this dish. I happened to have Japanese style egg-noodles, so that’s what I used! Cook your noodles according to package directions.
While the noodles are cooking, marinate the beef slices in soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar, oyster sauce and rice wine. If you don’t have rice wine, use dry sherry or any dry white wine will do. The sugar and the oyster sauce will help the meat caramelize.
You want beautiful, carmelized meat in your stir fry?
Here’s the secret. DO NOT CROWD THE MEAT! Single layer, ladies and gents!
Once you add it to the wok or frying pan, LEAVE THE THING ALONE. Resist the temptation to shake, move it around or flip…until the first side has a chance to caramelize. Then flip.
See the nicely caramelized bits?
Once the meat finishes cooking, remove to a plate. Now it’s time for Chinese Broccoli (Gai Lan).
Stir fry for a minute, scooping up the oils at the bottom of the wok all over the Chinese Broccoli. Bathe the oil over the Chinese Broccoli.
Now turn heat down, add 1/4 cup of water or browth and cover to let steam.
A couple of minutes later…test the Chinese Broccoli to see if done! A knife should pierce easily into the steam.
Now its the cooked noodles turn to take a bath in the sauce.
See it absorb all the juicy bits?
Now return the beef and broccoli to the wok and serve!!
Chinese Broccoli Beef Noodle Stir Fry Recipe
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 3 tablespoons Shaoxing wine, sake or dry white wine
- 1 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoons tapioca starch or cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
- 1 pound beef sirloin, thinly sliced
- 1 pound fresh or 10 ounces dried noodles
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 large cloves garlic, crushed and finely chopped
- 1.25 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 pound Chinese broccoli or regular common broccoli, cut into bite-size chunks or florets
- Freshly ground black pepper
- In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon each soy sauce, oyster sauce and rice wine. Add the sugar and continue to whisk until completely dissolved. Stir in the tapioca starch and continue stirring until smooth. Add the sesame oil and beef, and mix well. Marinate for 20 minutes. Drain and discard the excess marinade.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the noodles until 1 minute shy of done and drain. (We'll finish cooking the noodles at the end).
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a skillet or wok over high heat and stir-fry the garlic until fragrant, about 1o seconds. Add the beef and stir-fry until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and when hot, add the Chinese broccoli, stir frying so that the oil coats the Chinese broccoli. Pour in the 1/4 cup of the stock, turn the heat to medium-low and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook the Chinese broccoli until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the Chinese broccoli to the same plate.
- Add the remaining cup of stock and the remaining 2 tablespoons each of soy sauce, oyster sauce, and rice wine to the same skillet and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Add the noodles and cook until the liquid has almost completely evaporated, leaving the noodles lightly moistened,2 to 3 minutes. Return the beef and broccoli to the skillet and toss to mix the ingredients thoroughly. Season with pepper to taste and serve.