This may not be a dish, or a vegetable you are familiar with but think of it is an opportunity to try something new. Gai lan, sometimes known as kai lan or Chinese broccoli, is a vegetable native to China regularly seen in Chinese recipe. It has leafy greens attached to thick stalks and is excellent for stir-frying.
One of the ways I try to justify eating out for dim sum or Chinese is by always ordering a vegetable side dish and one of my favorites is garlic gai lan, which it turns out is very easy to replicate at home. If you can’t find gai lan, try substituting broccoli or whole leaf spinach, just adjust the cooking times.
Garlic Stir-Fried Gai Lan(serves 2-4)
Trim the woody ends off of the gai lan and wash thoroughly. Chop the garlic. In a small bowl stir together the sugar, white pepper, salt, chicken stock and cooking wine. In a very small bowl fork together the water and the cornstarch.
Heat a wok, or cast iron pan to medium high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. When the oil smokes add the gai lan and then the garlic. Stir fry for 5 minutes, or until leaves are wilted and stalks are about to soften.
Stir in the broth and spice mixture and bring to a boil. Part the gai lan so you can find a spot of broth, stir furiously and slow pour in the cornstarch mixture. Give it a minute to thicken and continue tossing the sauce with the vegetable to coat. Taste and season with salt and white pepper if needed. Serve hot.