One of the great things about opening a Good & Fugly box is that you will often find fruit and vegetables in there that you’re just not used to. This is an opportunity for exploration and adventure, and we keep hearing from our customers that, thanks to these discoveries, families and finding new favourite dishes to serve up.
Chinese broccoli, also known as gai lan or kai-lan, is a leafy green vegetable and a perfect example of this. People love Chinese broccoli when they dig into it, but, first, it’s important to understand how to best implement it into dishes and diets. It is packed filled with nutrients and flavours, and goes well with more than you’d think!
Here are the best ways to get started with the Chinese broccoli that pops out of your Good & Fugly box!
Stir-Frying: Asian cuisine is filled with excellent stir-fries, and with ingredients like Chinese Broccoli to work with, it’s easy to understand why. This veggie is easy to implement into any stir-fry, too. All you need to do is cut the broccoli into bite-sized pieces and toss them in a hot wok with garlic, ginger, and a splash of soy sauce. The quick cooking method preserves the vibrant green colour and maintains a delightful crunch, adding great texture to your meal.
Steaming: For people looking to maximise the health benefits of Chinese broccoli, there is the steaming option, too. You can simply steam the vegetable whole stalks and all, or you can cut them into smaller sections until they are both tender but still slightly crispy. They’re delicious as-is, but you can also serve them with a drizzle of oyster sauce or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice if you’d like.
Blanching: Blanching Chinese broccoli is another good option to really celebrate the natural flavours of the vegetable. Briefly boil the vegetable to soften it, then plunge it into ice water to stop the cooking process. This method retains the vibrant colour and enhances the vegetable's texture.
Grilling: Australians love a good BBQ. Bet you didn’t know that Chinese broccoli does as well! Preparing it for this kind of cooking couldn’t be easier: you just need to toss the broccoli in olive oil, salt, and pepper before placing it on the grill. The charred edges add a smoky flavour that complements the vegetable's natural taste… and let’s face it. Australian BBQs could do with being a bit less meat-heavy.
Sautéing: For a sophisticated taste, you can sauté Chinese broccoli with other vegetables or proteins for a flavourful and colourful side dish. Add it to a medley of mushrooms, bell peppers, and tofu or shrimp for a delightful combination of complimentary flavours.
Use with noodles: Chinese noodle dishes are forever family favourites, and it doesn’t really matter what version of noodles you’re cooking – incorporating some Chinese broccoli adds to the overall dish. All you need to do is mix it into stir-fried noodles or add it to noodle soups for a nutritious and tasty component. Be sure to use both the leaves and stems - it adds both texture and depth of flavour.
Soup: Chinese broccoli is a hearty, wholesome, high-impact vegetable, which makes it the perfect partner to soups. Whether it's a clear broth or a creamy base, the broccoli's earthy taste complements most soup recipes.
Oyster Sauce: Individually they might seem like the most basic of ingredients, but the classic pairing of Chinese broccoli and oyster sauce is a must-try. The sweet and savoury notes of oyster sauce enhance the broccoli's natural flavours, creating a delicious harmony. Do you think a cheese board is a good way to enjoy the Australian summer? Try this combination.
Raw: While we wouldn’t necessarily recommend this to a complete newcomer, as the flavours are quite high-impact, if you're feeling adventurous, try Chinese broccoli raw. All you need to do is slice it thinly and add it to salads for a refreshing and crunchy element. You can also pair it with a light vinaigrette to balance the flavours.
Dim Sums: Finally, you can enjoy the most authentic of Chinese cuisines with Chinese broccoli. Steamed or pan-fried dumplings often feature this leafy green as a hero ingredient, providing a delightful introduction to its unique taste and texture for those new to the vegetable. Because, after all, who doesn’t like Dim Sum?
With these ten ideas in your pocket, not only will you effectively introduce your family to the wonders of Chinese broccoli… you’ll also make it the thing they’re looking forward to the most in your Good & Fugly box!