Thursday, September 4, 2014

Steamed Gailan (Chinese Broccoli) with a tangy dressing

Gailan, also called kailan is a Cantonese green vegetable with juicy stems like broccolini and thick leaves which are slightly bitter. These days it is also available in large grocery stores other than Chinatown. If you cannot find it, you could do the same with broccolini. It is great steamed with a light dressing or stir fried. I like it steamed as it retains the bright green color of the vegetable.
Widely eaten in China, the steamed greens are served with oyster sauce, but my vegetarian family can taste the oyster sauce even if I try to camouflage it. Hence, I serve it with a soy based dressing, enhanced with some crispy garlic bits and rice vinegar for tang.
It is a great addition to a meat course or a tofu dish like the pan fried tofu with lemon soy glaze, or kung pao tofu.

Steamed gailan with a tangy dressing
1 bunch gailan

2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
3/4 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon sesame chili oil
1 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon good quality light soy sauce

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, while you prepare the gailan.
  2. Separate the stems from the leaves of the gailan. Cut the stems into 2 inch pieces. If they are thick then cut them vertically down the middle as well. Keep the leaves whole if they are small, otherwise cut into 2 inch pieces as well.
  3. When the water comes to a boil, add the stems and let it cook for 2 minutes before adding the leaves. Allow the leaves to cook for a minute. Remove the leaves and the stems from the boiling water and keep in a colander to drain. Once drained, transfer to a serving platter.
  4. Heat a small skillet with canola oil and add the garlic. Cook over medium heat till the garlic is crisp but not burnt. Garlic burns very quickly - hence you need to watch for it.
  5. Make a dressing with the sesame oil, chili oil, vinegar and soy sauce and pour over the gailan. Sprinkle the fried garlic bits and serve.
Serves 2 to 3

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