Monday, October 13, 2008

Kailan (Chinese Broccoli) Stir Fry

Kailan is the common English name of this vegetable, derived from its Cantonese name Gailan. It is the Chinese Broccoli or Chinese Kale. A picture can be found here. This vegetable is widely eaten in Asia, particularly the Chinese. The Chinese believe it contains as much nutrients as the regular broccoli.

More often than not, the ones sold in the markets are "old and mature" leaves already. So, we often find this vegetable slightly bitter. The fresh young ones should be tender with a hint of sweetness. So when buying the Kailan, make sure the leaves bright green and are not drying up, and the stalks are still slender and yielding to the touch.

Just in case, you are only able to buy the mature ones, it is okay. Just cut away some of the "old" yellowing leaves. The remaining greens and stalks can still be eaten. Prepare the veggies by blanching them in hot boiling water. Drain, and it is now ready to cook.

The usual way of cooking Kailan is steaming them, or boiling or blanching them. Arrange the drained veggies on the serving platter and add some splashes of good quality oyster sauce and sesame oil.

However, on my latest trip to the supermarket, I found this:

Locally, it is called Saganid. These are little fishes, around an inch long, preserved in a salty brine solution and sold in bottles. I was sure these little fishes would be tasty and would be good in a vegetable stir-fry. So, I could not wait to try it!

350 gms Kailan (Chinese Brocolli), blanched in boiling water
4 T cooking oil (prefereably canola or peanut oil)
3 slices fresh ginger
4 T minced garlic
2 T Saganid fishes, mashed
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat up the oil in a wok or cooking pan. Saute the ginger until fragrant. Saute garlic until fragrant but not burnt.

2. Add in the mashed fishies. Saute a bit. Add in the Kailan. Stir around to make sure all the leaves are flavored. Turn off heat soon after. Add salt and pepper to taste.

I realized that many people prefer to bake than to fry or stir fry. But believe me, stir-frying is a very easy way to cook. Not to mention, less cooking gas or electricity is used. All it needs is a very hot pan and a quick movements of the hands.

Try this easy recipe. It is both flavorful and healthy. If the preserved fishes are not available, rehydrated dried shrimps (hebi) or any ground meat and seafood can be good substitute. For a vegetarian stir-fry, you can also use the vegetarian oyster sauce for stir-frying.

Sharing this nutritious vegetable with the Weekend Herb Blogging Community, headed by kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen. Weekend Herb Blogging is a world-wide food event that features herbs and unique vegetables and the dishes we prepare using these unique ingredients. It is fascinating to learn about many interesting produce available around the world! This week's host are Amy and Jonny from We Are Never Full. To see last week's delicious dishes, please check out the fabulous round-up done by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook.


Christina Kim said...

Yeah....I like Kailan ....stir-fry version, just simple and crunchy:D

Anonymous said...

I learn something new today... didn't know that the ones sold are 'old' ... but usually I buy those labeled 'baby kailan'. Such a delicious and healthy dish.

Unknown said...

your veggies look so fresh and crisp... :) yum...

Soli Deo Gloria said...

Hi Christy! Kailan is more like Hubby's vegetable than mine. He is okay with the "mature" ones while I prefer the young tender ones.

You're right, Noobcook, buy the baby Kailan. Here, the markets do not sell the baby ones. Mostly mature ones :(

Yes, Mikky, it is rare that I get to buy young ones. So, I rarely serve this veggie as well... Blanching the veggies in hot water first would make them crisp and help retain the bright green color when cooked. :)

lubnakarim06 said...

Wow looks simple, easy and healthy.

Anonymous said...

Yummy! Kailan vegetables are always loved in my household. Quite nutricious too!

Soli Deo Gloria said...

Thanks Kitchen Flavors! Thanks Galatians! I'm glad you like Kailan, too! :)

Kalyn Denny said...

I had this type of Chinese Broccoli in Hong Kong and Beijing and really loved it. I don't think I've seen it here, although we do get brocolini sometimes, which is similar. This dish sounds delicious with the little fishes.

Soli Deo Gloria said...

Thanks Kalyn! Kailan is very very popular in Hong Kong and in China.

eatingclubvancouver_js said...

Thanks for the info about the saganid. I don't think I've ever ran into it before. For kailan, one trick we do now with the veggies is to chop them into small pieces. That way, nobody would have trouble biting through or chewing through the heavier stalks. For kids and elderly folk. ;)

Soli Deo Gloria said...

Thanks for the tip, JS! :)

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