Broccoli with Walnut-Garlic

Chinese Broccoli with garlic sauce recipe

I’m so affected by food that even the mention of certain city names can illicit a salivary response. Pavlov’s dog for the foodie. If I think “Chicago”, I immediately remember Grant Achatz painting our table with candy gems, fruit baubles and sweet jams.

Tomorrow, I’m heading back to Chi-town to speak at a food blogger event hosted by Verizon Wireless. Included in the trip is a free evening the day I arrive (can I sneak into Alinea? will they notice if I don an apron and pose as staff? can I hide under someone’s table?) and a super-secret supper that I know nothing about. I love super-secret suppers….well, that is, if I don’t get arrested for trying to sneak into Alinea!

Before I head out, I’m giving you another Asian recipe – this time for Chinese broccoli (called gai-lan) and a garlicky, gingery, chile-y, miso-y sauce. It’s zippy.

Okay, so what’s Chinese broccoli? It comes from the same family as regular broccoli, but it has a stronger, more pronounced taste. It’s bitter if you eat it raw, which is why it’s always cooked.

In Chinese, it’s gai-lan or kai-lan, pronounced “guy-LAN”

The stems are thick, the color of the leaves is more like kale (blue-green). While the florets of regular broccoli is eaten – many open florets on Chinese broccoli often means the vegetable is old and tough. The stems and leaves is what you eat.

Did you know? Broccolini is a cross between broccoli and gai-lan.

How to buy: Chinese broccoli should have very few florets. If you see small white flowers blooming, it probably means it’s past it’s prime and will be tough and bitter. Also take a look at the bottoms of the stems – fresh young Chinese broccoli will have a wet-milky-transluscent-ish color in the center of the stem. Old Chinese broccoli stem will be dried up with a hard, white opaque center. Skip it.

This is a recipe I’ve developed for my client, Miso & Easy. You can either use their product, which is miso paste in a squeeze bottle, or use regular miso paste that you can find in most grocery stores. Either one will work in this recipe!

Chinese Broccoli with Garlicy Ginger Miso Recipe

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

Cut the Chinese broccoli like this, which helps the vegetable cook evenly. The stems are thick, so they go at the bottom of the pan, which is hotter.

Add 1″ of water to your wok, then add in the stems on the bottom.

Lay the leaves on top.

Cover the wok and let the vegetables cook.

Once the Chinese broccoli is done, remove them to a plate and wipe the wok dry. This will prevent splatters when you add in the cooking oil. Stir fry the aromatics: garlic, ginger, chile.

Add in the remaining ingredients and stir. Let it simmer for just a bit and then pour on top of the Chinese broccoli and serve.

Servings: 4

Prep Time: 5 Minutes

Cook Time: 5 Minutes

If you don't have Chinese broccoli, feel free to use any other greens like asparagus, broccoli, broccolini, broccoli rabe, mustard greens, napa cabbage, bok choy, etc.


1 pound Chinese broccoli (gai lan)
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh hot chile pepper
1 tablespoon miso paste (or 2 tablespoons Miso & Easy)
2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon roasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce


1. Trim ends of the Chinese broccoli. Line up the Chinese broccoli with the stems facing same direction. Cut the stalks in half to separate the thick stems from the leaves.

2. Add 1" of water to a wok, pot or large saute pan and bring to a simmer on medium heat. Layer in the broccoli stems at the bottom of the wok and layer the leaves on top of the stems. You want the thick stems closer to the bottom of the pan so that they will cook faster. Steam for 3 minutes. Use tongs to lift the leaves to a serving plate. Check the stems to make sure they are cooked - they should be easily pierced with a fork. Plate the stems when they are done.

3. Discard the remaining water in the wok and wipe dry with a towel. Return wok to the stove and add in the cooking oil and ginger, garlic and chile pepper. Turn the heat to medium-low. Once the oil in the wok begins shimmering, cook for another 15 seconds (take care not to burn the aromatics). Stir in the miso water, soy sauce and sesame oil and cook another 15 seconds. Pour sauce over the Chinese broccoli.

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