Gai Lan with Oyster Sauce

Thanks to Steamy Kitchen for the original recipe.

(brassica oleracea / Chinese broccoli / kai lan) – or you could use any of these other brassicas – broccoli, broccolini (a cross between broccoli & gai lan), or rapini / rabé  / broccoletti

Gai Lan’s bittersweet taste becomes more bitter the older the vegetable.  Look for tight, unopened flower buds, and stalks that are not dried out.

For this recipe & photos, I have used broccoli, as when I reached for the Gai Lan, I realized it looked like Swiss Cheese.  Many happy little organic caterpillars had taken up residence in its leafy folds.  Our chickens thought it was particularly good! As we live over the ocean from the market, we islanders are very good at using what we have at hand.

Click here for printable version.


1# of Gai Lan (or 500 gr) or other brassica listed

1½ T canola oil

5 whole garlic cloves, peeled and gently mashed but left intact

¼ c vegetable stock

1 T rice vinegar, Sushi vinegar or dry sherry

¼ t sugar

1” of fresh ginger, cut into ⅛” slices & smashed with the back edge of a heavy knife

3 T oyster sauce

½ t sesame oil


Steam the greens first, ‘til just beginning to get tender, as they will have a few more minutes with heat before serving.

In large wok or pan (large enough to hold all stalks), heat the oil over medium heat. When the oil is just starting to get hot (the garlic should lightly sizzle upon contact) add the whole garlic cloves and let them fry until golden on all sides. Be careful not to burn the garlic, you just want to toast them – if the garlic starts turning dark brown, turn the heat to low. Toasting the garlic should take about 2 minutes.

While the garlic is toasting, in a small bowl mix the stock, wine and sugar and set aside.

Turn the heat to high and add the ginger & stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the steamed greens and use a heatproof spatula or large shallow spoon to scoop up the oil so that every stalk has been bathed with the ginger/garlic-infused oil for at least 30 seconds.

Pour the stock mixture into the wok and immediately cover the wok with a tight fitting lid. Turn the heat to medium and let the vegetable steam for 3-4 minutes, until stalks can be easily pierced with a paring knife or fork.

Remove the greens to a plate, leaving any remaining stock mixture in the wok. If you want, discard the ginger.

To the wok, add the oyster sauce and sesame oil and bubble and thicken on high for 1 minute.

Pour the sauce mixture over the greens and serve.  I’m quite happy to have a supper of this, partnered with polenta & a poached egg.

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