Chinese language Broccoli (Gai Lan): Elements Glossary | The Woks of Life

Chinese language Broccoli (芥兰, gai lan in Cantonese or jiè lán in Mandarin) is a leafy inexperienced vegetable you should utilize in a various vary of dishes.

Though they arrive from the identical plant household, it’s fairly totally different from the common broccoli florets you’re already conversant in, which is called xī lán huā, 西兰花).

What’s Chinese language Broccoli? 

Chinese language broccoli is a leafy green-blue plant that has three major elements––the leafy ends, the crunchy stalk, generally small, flowery buds.

Its construction is much like common broccoli, although the leaves and buds are a lot smaller. Relying on when the greens have been harvested, it’s possible you’ll or could not see these buds on the actual specimens you purchase.

This vegetable has thick, darkish inexperienced leaves which might be mushy and pliable like spinach, with a boring sheen to them. Their stems are agency, much like broccoli or asparagus, and so they style considerably much like broccoli.

Gai Lan

After cooking, they tackle a sweeter style and lighten to a vivid inexperienced colour. The tender leaves are fairly scrumptious, in addition to wealthy in calcium, iron, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. 

Asian supermarkets have now begun to inventory child Chinese language broccoli, additionally referred to as Chinese language broccoli suggestions, pictured beneath:

Baby Chinese Broccoli

The leaves and stems are extra tender, and also you’ll get much less stem per stalk.

Chinese Broccoli Tips

Selecting mature vs. younger greens is in the end a private choice. 

Is Gai Lan the identical as Broccolini?

An additional enjoyable truth… Have you ever seen these costly bunches of “broccolini” (additionally generally labeled, “child broccoli”) in your native grocery store? 

That’s only a hybrid of your common outdated cafeteria broccoli and this Chinese language broccoli. Combine ‘em collectively, and also you’ve bought a elaborate title and supermarkets charging $3.99 for a tiny bunch. Go determine. 

Broccolini has lengthy, tender stems attribute of Chinese language broccoli, with unfastened florets which might be someplace between common broccoli and gai lan buds. 

How To Put together Chinese language Broccoli

Chinese language broccoli may be cooked in a stir-fry, boiled, or steamed. It’s also possible to use it as a mattress to serve braised dishes on, or serve it as a scrumptious aspect dish in its personal proper. 

One preparation query a lot of you may have requested within the feedback is learn how to cope with these thick stems. 

The reply is to chop off the ends (about 1/4-inch) after which, utilizing a paring knife or vegetable peeler, trim the powerful outer pores and skin off the underside three inches of every stem—much like what you may do for asparagus. 

This may make the stalks extra tender and fewer bitter, whereas additionally serving to them cook dinner quicker. Sure, you’ll be able to eat the stems, and you’ll even use the identical approach on western broccoli!

Trimming Chinese broccoli stems with a paring knife

Word that if you happen to purchase child Chinese language broccoli, you’ll be able to simply trim a little bit off the ends. There is no such thing as a must peel the stalks. 

One common methodology of getting ready gai lan is by blanching in boiling water (with a tablespoon of oil added to make the leaves shiny), and serving the greens complete with a drizzle of oyster sauce. You might have seen it earlier than on dim sum carts!

Learn extra about this common, easy preparation in our recipe for Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce

If making a stir-fry, you’ll be able to slice them at an angle after trimming. This offers the broccoli stems extra floor space and texture, whereas additionally making them simpler to eat. 

Slicing stalks of gai lan with cleaver

A private favourite recipe that makes use of this ingredient is our Beef with Chinese Broccoli, which showcases it in a scrumptious and easy-to-cook meal. 

Shopping for & Storing

Chinese language broccoli is kind of frequent, and may be present in Asian grocery shops all 12 months spherical. Like all greens, costs range seasonally, however are usually fairly affordable. 

When looking for this leafy inexperienced, search for wholesome blue-green leaves and keep away from any produce with yellowing or wilting leaves, brown spots, or too many flowers. In case you see many yellow buds/flowers, the greens are possible overly mature or not recent. 

Child Chinese language broccoli are the identical because the bigger selection, however harvested earlier. Consequently, they’ve thinner stems and smaller leaves, making them extra tender. Once more, this implies you’ll be able to skip the additional step of trimming outer pores and skin from the bottom of the stem.

Retailer within the plastic bag it got here in, ideally within the crisper drawer of the fridge. For finest outcomes, use inside three days. At all times totally wash earlier than cooking (we triple wash all greens in our kitchen), as a result of sand and filth can cling to the leaves and stems. 

The most effective methodology for laundry these greens is to place them in a big bowl or basin (or clear sink) full of chilly water. Agitate the greens along with your arms to loosen any filth, and soak for 5-10 minutes. This permits any filth to settle to the underside of the basin. 

Then elevate the greens out of the water right into a colander, clear out the basin, fill with recent water, and repeat this course of 1-2 instances. 

Substitutions for Chinese language Broccoli

Although Chinese language broccoli has a definite style and texture, you’ll be able to substitute it with quite a few different greens, together with yu choy, bok choy, and broccolini. 

Our Favourite Dishes That Use This Ingredient

Chinese language broccoli is a key ingredient in a number of of our recipes. This vegetable can be nice as a easy aspect dish, whether or not you determine to blanch complete stalks or stir-fry smaller reduce items.

Chicken with Chinese Broccoli and Mushrooms

Listed here are just a few recipes to strive: 

Chinese Broccoli (Gai Lan) with Oyster Sauce
Chicken and Chinese Broccoli Stir Fry with Mushrooms
Beef with Chinese Broccoli
Pad See Ew – Thai Rice Noodles

What’s your favourite means to make use of this ingredient? Tell us within the feedback beneath.

Chines Cooking