It is not always possible to come across broccolini in Berlin, but as soon as I see them in the market, I will stock up with bagfuls of them. Looking at their shape reminds me of nature, forest and spring. Sometimes you will find them in dark violet as well as the familiar green. Broccolini is a hybrid of broccoli and Chinese broccoli (Gai-Lan), it has a milder flavour than broccoli with a earthy sweet taste. I personally think it tastes very much like Gai-Lan (one of the most popular greens in South East Asia) especially the texture of its slender stem. Eating broccolini reminds me of home, mother would blanch Gai-Lan quickly in boiling water for a couple of minutes, drain and either sautéed them with ginger and a little peanut oil or toss them in oyster sauce and sesame oil. Simple cooking method brings out the best of broccolini.
I would rather call today’s post ‘an idea’ for cooking broccolini than ‘a recipe’ as there are so many possibilities of different combination of sauces and seasoning, which will all work splendidly with these lanky greens. Since I am a little bit obsessed with chili at the moment, so I cooked my first batch of broccolini with chili bean sauce, it was mildly sweet, bold, spicy and full of umami flavour. With a bowl of steamy jasmine rice would easily make a perfect, satisfying meal.
- 250g Broccolini
- 3 slices of ginger, peeled and julienned
- 1 small carrot, julienned
- 100g Oyster mushroom, sliced
- 1 heaped tablespoon of Chili bean sauce
- vegetable oil
- 2 tsp. of sesame oil
- 1 stick spring onion, finely sliced (for garnish)
- 100ml water (plus more if needed)
- Tamari (or regular soy sauce) for seasoning
- Jasmine rice (or brown rice) to served
Bring a pot of water to boil, then blanch the broccolini for no more than 1.5 minutes. Drain in a colander.
Warm just over a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a wok, fry the ginger and carrots for a minute until the carrots start to soften. Add the oyster mushrooms, stir-fry for another minute.
Add the chili bean sauce to the vegetables and mix well. Finally add the blanched broccolinis into the wok and stir-fry for half a minute. Add the water, let it cook for 1 minute and with great caution, pick one broccolini up and have a taste (be careful not to burn your mouth), it should be soft but remain a bite when done. Season with tamari or soy sauce if it needs more seasoning.
Transfer the vegetables on a warm platter and garnish with chopped spring onion. Served with rice.