For some reason, we never used to cook gailan (Chinese broccoli) at home. I used to find them a tad bitter. But, I started thinking of them more favorably when I discovered that the "crunchy" discs that I like so much in some versions of fried rice were actually thinly-sliced gailan!
Recently, after years of never seeing gailan at home, we had some in the house. The task fell to me to cook it. Having no ideas on what to do with them, I looked to the classic way they're served in Cantonese restaurants: simply boiled with oyster sauce.
Gailan with Oyster Sauce, Way #1
I did quick research via a Martin Yan cookbook and discovered that the sauce is actually a blend of oyster sauce and sesame oil.
So, I prepped the gailan by peeling off the tough "skin" near the bottom of the stalks, much like prepping asparagus, then boiled it. It was finished with a drizzle of the oyster sauce-sesame oil mixture.
I tasted it and guess what? They weren't bitter at all! And that sauce! I know I shouldn't be surprised seeing as I'm not a stranger to oyster sauce. I guess you can say I re-discovered it. That sauce was so good.
Not bad for a 3-ingredient dish, eh.
Gailan with Oyster Sauce, Way #2
After that successful dish, I kept seeing gailan more and more often in the refrigerator. The next time I made it, I remembered the sasagaki cutting technique I saw in Jude's Kinpira Gobo dish.
Well, I started cutting the gailan stalks like I was sharpening a pencil, then realized halfway through that it was easier just to cut them in diagonals.
This stir-fry called for just two more additional ingredients. (Three if you count the water in the cornstarch slurry.)
I heated some oil in a pan, then added some garlic. The gailan went in next, followed by oyster sauce and some sesame oil. When the gailan was done, I simply added a little cornstarch slurry (cornstarch dissolved in cold water) to thicken the liquid in the pan.
Everytime gailan appears in the fridge, I am called to cook it. JS jokes that I've become a gailan stir-fry "expert."
For your holiday get-togethers, why not make Way #1? It's as simple as simple can be. You can blanch the gailan in advance until it's cooked but still "crunchy". When you finally need them, a stint in the microwave is all they need. Or, you can serve them at room temperature. They look very elegant arranged on a platter with the oyster sauce-sesame oil mixture spooned over them. You can't beat the simplicity of three ingredients!
eatingclub Hong Kong/Cantonese
Chicken Chow Mein
Cantonese Braised Beef Brisket, Two Ways
Lobster Congee from a Lobster Feast
Chinese Roast Pork Belly
Gailan (Chinese Broccoli) with Oyster Sauce, Two Ways
Chinese Pork Bone Soup with Carrots and Water Chestnuts
Hong Kong-style Curry Cuttlefish
Dimsum Seafood Trio: Black Pearl Prawn Toast, Scallop in Nest, Jewelled Rice Cup
Hong Kong-style Singapore Noodles (星洲炒米)
Hong Kong-style Stir-fried Water Spinach with Shrimp Paste (蝦醬通菜)
Hong Kong-style Stir-fried Rice Noodle with Beef (乾炒牛河)
Sweet and Sour Pork
Hong Kong-style Curry Beef Brisket (咖喱牛腩), 1st Attempt
We're submitting this post to Weekend Herb Blogging, a world-wide food blogging event (created by Kalyn's Kitchen, now maintained by Haalo of Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once) with the goal of helping each other learn about cooking with herbs and plant ingredients.
If you'd like to participate, see who's hosting next week. WHB is hosted this week by Haalo herself!