Friday, November 21, 2008

Chinese Broccoli with Garlic and Pepper Flakes

I've been planning to make Chinese food for a while but haven't gotten around to it. Earlier in the week I asked Alex to get some green vegetables to eat with dinner and he came home with this bag of weird leafy green vegetables that look like a cross between broccoli, asparagus, and spinach. It was Chinese broccoli. I had never noticed it before at the Asian market, but Alex has had it before and was really excited. Then we ended up not making Chinese food, and it sat in the fridge for a while. Some of it turned a little yellow. We fed that part to our guinea pig, Porkchop (she didn't like the stems). 
Are you looking for a different vegetable to bring to your Thanksgiving feast? How about Chinese broccoli? It has a really good flavor, is pretty easy to throw together, and is probably really healthy. There is a good mix of crunch and soft leaves if you cook it like I did, none of the bitterness of broccoli rabe (which is resembles), and it's always good to have another vegetable option. I've been feeling limited in my choices lately, I know it's all in my head but I was really happy about this new vegetable option. I cooked this similar to how we cook broccoli rabe at work, heavy on the garlic and with a bit of red pepper flakes. We made clam pizza (I wanted something quick and garlicky) and shared a big bowl of this on the side. It was a good meal. This is a good vegetable. 

PS: Thanksgiving recipes start for serious tomorrow!
Chinese Broccoli with Garlic and Pepper Flakes
1 lb Chinese broccoli (also known as Kai-lan)
2 T olive oil
4 or more cloves of garlic, minced or put through a garlic press
1/2 t red pepper flakes (or more, or Thai chilis would be good as well)
salt and pepper

Bring an inch of water to boil in a pan large enough to hold your broccoli. Place a vegetable steamer over the water, put your broccoli in it, cover, and steam for 3-5 minutes, until the thicker stems can be pierced by a fork without a fight. You can steam them longer if you want less of a crunch, but we left them fairly firm. Let cool enough to handle (or run under cool water), and then slice into about one inch chunks. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, then add the garlic and pepper flakes. Cook a minute or two, then add the broccoli and cook another minute or so until hot. Season with salt and pepper. 


  1. Looks yummy! I make broccoli like this as well. My children love it. I'm going to see if my local Publix sells the Chinese broccoli. I think my children would like as well.

  2. ashley2:06 PM

    I love the Chinese broccoli it was fantastic
    Everyone wanted seconds!!!

  3. Anonymous9:16 AM

    bri bri kaplan made the most amazing chinese broocoli. he and sophie sure are smart people