In the vast expanse of Chinese culinary art, the beef stir-fry with lush Chinese broccoli stands out for its sheer simplicity yet profound taste. While many might nod at its familiar Western takeout counterpart, the authentic Chinese rendition is a revelation, deserving its own spotlight and applause.
Chinese Broccoli: The Unsung Hero
For the uninitiated, Chinese broccoli might sound exotic. But in China, this leafy green—referred to as jie lan (Mandarin) or gai lan (Cantonese)—is a staple. While its counterpart, the regular broccoli, takes center stage in the West, those in the know appreciate the unique taste and texture of Chinese broccoli. Cooked just right with tender beef slices, it might even outshine your beloved classic beef and broccoli dish.
Few Things to Consider:
- Chinese broccoli has a delightful crunch that’s best preserved when stir-fried directly. So, there’s no need for pre-blanching. Plus, this way, all the nutritious goodness stays in the dish and doesn’t end up wasted in boiling water.
- Fresh ginger isn’t just an addition; it’s a game-changer. Not only does it enhance the flavors, but most eateries serving this dish ensure it’s generously included.
- On the topic of sauce: the choice is yours! Whether you’re in team “extra gravy” or “less is more”, adjust the sauce’s consistency to your liking. And if you can’t source Chinese broccoli, broccolini makes a worthy substitute.
Now, with your palate primed, let’s dive into creating this culinary marvel!
- 8 ounces flank steak (225g)
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon oil, plus 3 tablespoons (divided)
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 3 slices fresh ginger (adjust according to preference)
- 2 cloves garlic (sliced)
- 16 ounces Chinese broccoli (prepped and drained)
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon sesame oil
- ¼ cup hot chicken stock (60 ml) or beef stock
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch (blended with 2 tablespoons water for a slurry)
- Prepare the beef by slicing it thinly, ensuring cuts are against the grain. Marinate with cornstarch, 1 teaspoon oil, and soy sauce for about 20 minutes.
- In a heated wok, add oil and quickly sear the beef until browned. Set aside.
- To the same wok, add ginger slices. Once aromatic, introduce garlic and Chinese broccoli. Stir-fry until the greens turn a vivid shade.
- Reintroduce the beef. Add the sauces, seasonings, and hot stock. Stir to combine.
- As the liquid starts boiling, use the cornstarch slurry to achieve your desired sauce thickness.
- Serve piping hot, ideally with a side of fluffy steamed rice.
Remember, the key to a perfect stir-fry is in the balance of flavors and textures. Whether it’s the aromatic ginger or the lush Chinese broccoli, each ingredient plays its part in creating a symphony on your plate. So, the next time you’re craving a Chinese dish, give this one a whirl.