02 Sep2009


Talk about requiring “mis en place” or having all of the ingredients for a dish selected, washed, cut and “in place” before starting to cook… This dish was literally done in less than two minutes from the time the fat was added to the hot wok! Stir fried chinese broccoli was a favorite dish of ours when we used to live in Singapore, and it always arrived both still crunchy yet cooked, glossy with oil and sauce, but never swimming in liquid. There was a version that was blanched or steamed that was moister as well. When you try and replicate this stir-fried dish in a standard pan on an indoor stove, you inevitably end up partially steaming the veggies which I find less appealing.


I started with some chinese broccoli or gai lan, with the tougher parts of the leaves trimmed off, and the stems cut to smaller pieces. Washed, and dried, these were ready to cook. Based on the recipe attributed to Lee Wan Ching in the book “The Breath of a Wok,” I prepared a little mixture of chicken broth, shaoxing rice wine, some sugar, salt and cornstarch. I also sliced a small piece of ginger into 3-4 pieces. Heat up some oil, saute the ginger slices for a few seconds, then add the broccoli and listen to it sizzle while you use tongs or a ladle to move the veggies around. Add the broth mixure and stir fry for a minute or so longer until everything is coated and there is just a little sauce left.


Serve immediately. I could have this with a small bowl of rice if I were on a self-imposed diet. But of course we had some squid, shrimp, etc. as well. :) This may be a new wok, but let me tell you, I think I can tell the difference between gai lan cooked on this wok compared to the same recipe cooked on the La Germania stove indoors…



  1. Lilibeth says:

    Marketman: I love healthy recipes like this and looks delicious too. Will try it out this weekend and for me, a vegetable dish plus rice is enough for a meal. Btw, I made your XO Fried Rice and of course before that, Betty Q’s XO sauce. It was sooooo delicious! My daughter kept going back and forth in my room just to say “Mommy, the rice was really good!” So to those who have not tried it, I say, go and get your ingredients because this is “the best fried rice ever”.

    Sep 2, 2009 | 2:05 am


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  3. ykmd says:

    Looove gai lan, just steamed and eaten with oyster sauce!

    Sep 2, 2009 | 2:08 am

  4. kim says:

    hayyyyyyyyyy … kakagutom !

    Sep 2, 2009 | 2:23 am

  5. Allison says:

    Hello Mr. MM. Just stumbled on your blog recently and have gotten so addicted to reading your archived posts! You make me long for the taste of home (specifically Bohol). Anyway, thank you so much for sharing your amazing recipes and pictures. You’ve inspired me to want to learn to cook. If only my mom wouldn’t mind losing her kitchen to a fire…

    Sep 2, 2009 | 2:46 am

  6. Connie C says:

    If bettyQ 5 spices everything, I am oyster sauce everything, kangkong, watercress, bok choy, chives, chinese broccoli, asparagus, bean sprouts, etc. with a little chicken broth and a sprinkling of fried garlic just before serving……. lifesavers for the busy or sometimes lazy cook like me . And a wok surely makes the difference!

    Sep 2, 2009 | 5:07 am

  7. natie says:

    uy…someone’s having fun with the wok….i’m enjoying the posts..

    Sep 2, 2009 | 6:36 am

  8. cumin says:

    Great, simple dish. Like other readers, I like to cook it with just garlic and oyster sauce. But why is it that the broccoli leaves in local markets often taste of some chemical, regardless of how thoroughly they are washed? Has anyone else had this problem?

    Sep 2, 2009 | 7:30 am

  9. Edwin D. says:

    LEt the “Woking” begin.

    Sep 2, 2009 | 8:25 am

  10. alicia says:

    that over rice would be a real treat!

    Sep 2, 2009 | 8:52 am

  11. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    MM, looking forward to your post on Sweet and Sour Pork with that Wok!!

    Sep 2, 2009 | 9:17 am

  12. joyce says:

    wok with mm! this is great. many variations you can do with this, with garlic, with bits of pork, with oyster sauce, abalone sauce etc. and this is perfection with a nice steaming bowl of rice.

    Sep 2, 2009 | 10:03 am

  13. Cris Jose says:

    Wow, gulay naman ngayon! MM, pwede ba fried rice naman sa next post mo? :)

    Btw, thank you for referring me to your post on pots & pans. I already copied it (if you don’t mind) and included it in my files for future reference. I’m in the midst of collecting my dream pots and pans and knowing how to take care of them will surely be a lot of help (especially to my wallet) ;)

    Sep 2, 2009 | 10:09 am

  14. kurzhaar says:

    I adore greens, love gai lan but must either grow it or make the trek to an Asian market. Perhaps my favourite greens are those in the rapini family…but dandelion greens, turnip tops, kale, etc. are all delicious. A quick saute (or stir fry) with garlic and olive oil, and you have a classic topping for pasta (shaved grana padano or romano optional). I can (and have been known to) eat this daily. It’s just about time to plant rapini and Tuscan kale for a fall crop.

    I have a very large steel wok given me by a Chinese friend who is a great cook, and it is now almost as well-seasoned as my antique cast iron skillets…it has about a century of use to catch up with the cast ironware! The “non-stick” qualities of both are such that a scrub with a natural fibre brush under very hot water is all any of these need to be cleaned. I actually do not own any “non-stick” (fluorocarbon-based) cookware of any sort!

    Sep 2, 2009 | 10:09 am

  15. Ariel says:

    MM glad you got a wok. I love and adore asian food. Malapit na posting para sa yang chow fried rice with kung pao shrimp. that vegetable really looks like what you get from dimsum restaurants.

    Sep 2, 2009 | 10:10 am

  16. Lou says:

    Congratulations on your wok purchase MM! I once took a course in dimsum making in Hong Kong and remember coveting the well seasoned woks the chef had lined up against the wall…If only I had a purse big enough to spirit them away in!! Truly, good equipment is half the battle.

    Sep 2, 2009 | 10:27 am

  17. Dale says:

    Looks like you’ve got a very nice colour to your wok very quickly MM. Congrats on the new utensil! I’m already enjoying this wok series vicariously, since I only have electric, and the smoke from a hot wok tends to set off all the smoke alarms in the house. My lola and mom used to tell me the secret to good stir fry is a screaming hot pan and lots of oil. Looks like you’ve got both down pat!

    Sep 2, 2009 | 11:03 am

  18. linda says:

    Wok cooking is my favorite way of cooking as it’s easy,fast, and nutritious.Always remember to have your wok smoking hot before adding anything else so that way you get the “breath of the wok” almost umami taste! Looking forward to all your wok-cooking experiments and thanks for sharing!

    Sep 2, 2009 | 11:44 am

  19. Anna Banana says:

    I love kai lan! that and lots of garlic bits plus steaming rice. simple yet utterly pleasurable~

    Oh I kinda remembered that my lola used to use a large wok for steaming. I wonder if there’s any noticeable difference in using an ordinary steamer ie. flat bottom to a wok as I assume the conduction and convection in a wok would be a bit more variated (steaming should be faster in a wok, if this is true) than that from an ordinary steamer. Haha just thinking out loud here.

    Sep 2, 2009 | 6:40 pm

  20. Mila says:

    Gailan is my favorite green leafy vegetable and thank goodness it’s not seasonal here. Another favorite green veg is peashoots, but they are only available in the late winter, early spring. I enjoy them best quickly stir fried with garlic and oyster sauce (but not the gloppy oyster sauce you find too often). When I cook it at home I do blanch the greens first, I had a freaky experience once finding something er, organic and wriggly in the vegetable, and blanching reduces chances of that happening again!

    Sep 2, 2009 | 8:52 pm

  21. Vicky Go says:

    Like Connie C – I tend to use oyster sauce for stir fried Chinese veggies like Gai Lan & Choi Sum! Since we’re garlic lovers, I use slices of garlic & to make this a “meatier” main dish, I add Chinese sausages that I have par-boiled to take off some of the salt & to soften & then stir fried before the garlic & veggies.

    Sep 2, 2009 | 9:41 pm

  22. Mom-Friday says:

    this is really a simple and healthy dish! we cook this using oyster sauce only for flavor, sauteed in garlic, and little starch-water — the lazy-cook version :D

    Sep 3, 2009 | 4:30 pm

  23. Lisa says:

    Hi Marketman

    May I have the proportion of ingredients you used for this recipe? Thanks.


    Sep 4, 2009 | 11:32 pm

  24. Susan D. says:

    Made this but used garlic and some oyster sauce instead of the wine. Never thought of putting cornstarch in it but that just coated the gai lan with all the flavors wonderfully. Thanks MM!

    Sep 5, 2009 | 5:29 am


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