A quick and easy way to cook vegetables is to blanch them before drizzling over some oyster sauce. Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce is an easy, simple and healthy dish.
When it comes to vegetables, I usually go for the leafy parts and not so much of the stems. But not this time. The best part of Chinese broccoli (kai lan) for me is the thick and tender stems. They are sweet, slightly crunchy and so tasty with the sauce! So when I saw them in the market, I knew right away I was going to cook this Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce dish.
Although this dish is called ‘Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce’, it takes more than just oyster sauce to make it delicious. It is the combination of fresh veggies, oyster sauce, fried garlic/shallot oil and the crispy garlic/shallots pieces tossed together that makes this healthy vegetable dish so delectable and flavorful.
How to Choose The Best Kai Lan
If you’re buying kai lan from the supermarket or local market, try to choose the smaller stalks with fresh and dark colored leaves. Avoid those with yellowish leaves. The flower buds should be compact and unopened. If there are many opened flowers, it is very likely they are old and more bitter. I bought the short Hong Kong kai lan variety as I prefer this over the longer stalk variety for blanching.
Kai lan (also spelt as gai lan) is the Cantonese name for Chinese broccoli or Chinese kale as it is known in some countries. It belongs to the same species as broccoli but they are in different groups. You may find small flowers peeking out from the leaves of the kai lan. They resemble broccoli heads and that’s why the kai lan is also known as Chinese broccoli.
How to Cook Chinese Broccoli
The three common ways to cook Chinese broccoli is by steaming, stir-frying and blanching. I’m using the blanching method for this recipe. You can use this method for other vegetables like broccoli, baby kai lan, choy sum (yu choy), lettuce, etc. I usually cook my veggies this way when I’m in a hurry as they are really quick to prepare.
I used fried shallot oil for this recipe but garlic oil works too. I usually make enough shallot oil to last me for about a week. Just remember to keep a close eye on the shallots/garlic when frying as they brown quickly especially the garlic. My fried shallots turned out a little too brown for my liking but at least they were crispy. 🙂
Chinese Broccoli Health Benefits
This veggie dish is not only delicious, it is also very healthy as well. Nutrition wise, Chinese broccoli is loaded with vitamins A, C and K and it also has calcium, iron and protein. Vitamin A helps to prevent cataracts, impaired night vision, and retinitis pigmentosa.
I also learned from this article that it has a high concentration of folate that may be beneficial to asthma sufferers. Chinese broccoli is also high in dietary fiber, which aids with food digestion and encourages bowel movements. So load up on your greens!
I enjoy eating the kai lan so much that I polished up almost everything myself 🙂 For a complete meal, pair this dish with a soup and a pork, chicken or seafood dish.
I hope you’ll enjoy this Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce recipe. If you would like to stay connected, subscribe to my blog and receive updates delivered to your inbox! 🙂
- For blanching
- 1 bunch of kai lan (about 250g)
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- ½ tsp salt
- For frying
- 3 shallots, peeled and sliced
- 3 tbsp oil
- For sauce (Mix well)
- 2 tbsp Lee Kum Kee oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 4 tbsp water
- ½ tsp sugar
- Wash and drain kai lan. Then use a peeler or knife and peel off the bottom stem. Cut off the leaves from the stems.
- To prepare shallot oil, heat up 3 tbsp of oil in a small saucepan and fry shallots till light golden brown. Stir constantly to prevent them from burning. Remove the fried shallots with a slotted spoon and set aside in a small bowl. Leave the oil in the pot.
- In a wok/pot, fill up with about ⅓ full of water and bring to a boil. When it boils rapidly, add oil and salt followed by the kai lan. Boil briefly over medium heat for about 2 mins 30 seconds or until the stems are just tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and arrange on a serving plate.
- To prepare sauce, heat up fried shallot oil (from step 2) and pour in the oyster sauce mixture. Stir with a spatula to prevent the sauce from burning. Make sure to use the lowest flame. Turn off the gas when the sauce is fragrant and slightly thickened.
- Drizzle oyster sauce mixture over the kai lan. Top with fried shallot pieces and serve immediately.
2. Chop off about 1 cm from the gai lan stem if it is dry.
Kenny Lee says
Alright, at the risk of sounding like a fool, I must admit I didn’t know that chinese broccoli is actually kai lan. I was expecting broccoli imported from China cooked with oyster sauce, which I did actually cook a week ago. I’m yet to master cooking kai lan. Definitely could use some tips from you.
If it’s any consolation to you, I only knew Chinese broccoli is different from kai lan when I created the recipe. In my family, we always call it kai lan.
Eric Cantu says
Your site always make my mouth water… I LOVE Chinese broccoli. Now I’m starving! Lol thanks for the great recipe.
I cannot wait to try this wonderful vegetable. Your photos are beautiful and I love your logo. Thank you for making this available and I will be sharing on facebook for you. Excellent post. Did Pinterest too.
Thanks for sharing, Merry. Happy cooking! 🙂
The Chinese cuisine is my family’s favorite! Loved your post and how you did not leave any detail and it was really entertaining to read through it. My sister loves broccoli and she’s learning new recipes every day, I think she will love this site
Oh this is my favorite vegetable!
I usually have gai lan stir fried with ginger and garlic but it’s also very nice just with oyster sauce.
I didn’t know all the nutritional facts that you stated. Vitamin A, K, and C. So happy that it’s so good for you as well 🙂 I will be eating this more!
How long is gai lan good for before it goes bad?
I’m glad you enjoy kai lan like me too. This is becoming one of my favorite vegetable. You can prolong the shelf-life of kailan by wrapping them in newspaper and storing in the chiller drawer to prevent the leaves from drying up. Usually, I will cook them within 1 to 2 days of buying as I like to eat leafy veggies when they are fresh.
Yeah, it’s great when the food we enjoy is healthy as well! 🙂
Sometimes I’ll stir-fry the kai lan too. I might blog about it another post so stay tuned 🙂
I enjoyed reading the recipe it looked delicious. This site is very cool!
Sadie Chan says
Love to visit your site for Chinese food. We practically eat Vegetable cooked dishes almost at every Dinner. Your recipes come as a great help to me. Cooking Vegetable is not as easy as it seen because it mustn’t be overcooked. The Fire must be just right as well. I can never cook like the way restaurant delivery its vegetable dishes.
Hope to learn more from you.
Thanks for writing in. I agree. Stir-frying vegetables may sound easy but it takes practice to cook it just right. I find that having all the ingredients ready helps and also the right heat is crucial to achieve a good stir-fry.
I’m not an expert in cooking but I do love to cook and explore. I believe anyone can cook if one is interested to learn. Hope you’ll try out some of the recipes here! 🙂
I love Kai Lan, too. I eat it every two weeks or so.
Your recipe is what I’m going to try next. I usually stir fry it with garlic.
It is already delicious.
I think oyster sauce will enhance the taste of KaiLan. Will definitely try this.
I love to stir fry kai lan with garlic too and I did a post on that recently. https://souperdiaries.com/stir-fried-kailan-with-oyster-sauce/
Hope you’ll enjoy the recipe. Happy cooking! 🙂