A healthy Asian side dish from chef Fuchsia Dunlop. "Chinese broccoli is more like the variety sold in our supermarkets as "broccolini" than the familiar, floreted broccoli or calabrese. It has long, deep green stems, dark leaves and scanty green flower buds. Its flavour has a delicate hint of bitterness and it is particularly good blanched and stir-fried with ginger, as here. I learned this method in the kitchen of the late, great cookbook writer Yan-kit So, at a dinner party where she served it with a sumptuous steamed turbot scattered with preserved winter greens. If you are cooking quite a few dishes, this recipe is a blessing because the broccoli can be blanched an hour or more ahead of time: just make sure you undercook it in this case, so it won't be overdone by the time it's finally heated through for serving."
3/4 lb. Chinese broccoli
4 tbsp cooking oil
2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
1 tbsp Shaoxing wine
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp potato flour mixed with 1 tbsp cold water (optional)*
* In Cantonese restaurants, they usually thicken the juices with potato flour at the end of the cooking, so they cling to the broccoli stems like a sauce, but if you are not aiming for a professional finish, there is no need to do this at home.
Step 1: Bring a large panful of water to a boil (a generous 2-1/2 litres will do).
Step 2: Wash and trim the Chinese broccoli. If the lower parts of the stems are thick and fibrous, peel away their outer skin with a potato peeler.
Step 3: When the water is boiling, add 1 tbsp salt and 1 tbsp oil, then the Chinese broccoli. Blanch it for a minute or two to "break its rawness." The stems should be just tender, but still crisp. If you are stir-frying them immediately, simply drain the broccoli stems and shake dry in a colander; if you want to serve them later, refresh the stems under a cold tap to arrest cooking before draining well.
Step 4: When you wish to serve the broccoli, add the remaining oil to a seasoned wok over a high flame, swirl it around, then add the ginger and sizzle briefly until you can smell its fragrance. Splash in the Shaoxing wine and add the sugar. Add the broccoli and stir-fry, adding salt to taste, until it is piping hot. (If you are using broccoli blanched earlier, then cooled, you will need to pour 2-3 tbsp water or stock into the wok and cover it, so the stems reheat thoroughly.)
Step 5: Remove the stems from the wok and lay them neatly on a serving dish. If you wish to thicken the juices, give the potato flour mixture a stir and add just enough, in stages, to thicken the sauce to a clingy consistency; then pour the sauce over the broccoli and serve. If you do not wish to thicken the juices, simply pour them and the ginger over the broccoli.
See more recipes from Fuchsia Dunlop.
Reprinted with permission from Fuchsia Dunlop's Every Grain of Rice (2013 W.W. Norton).