Gai lan with oyster sauce

  • 1 lb gai lan (Chinese broccoli)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed but left intact
  • 1/4 c chicken stock (or water)
  • 1 Tbsp Xiaoxing wine (Chinese rice wine for cooking)
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, cut into 1/8″ coins and smashed
  • 3 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil

To wash the gai lan, trim a bit from the ends of each stalk and discard (you don’t want any dry ends). In a large wok or pan, heat just 1 tablespoon of the cooking oil over medium heat. When the oil is just starting to get hot (the garlic should sizzle upon contact) add the whole garlic cloves and let them fry until golden brown 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, fry for 30 seconds. Add the gai lan stalks and use your spatula to scoop up the oil so that every stalk has been bathed with the ginger/garlic-infused oil for 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 gai lan to a plate, leaving any remaining stock mixture in the wok. If you want, pick out and discard the ginger coins (we always let each diner do that). 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 gai lan and serve.