Cycle 13 – Item 197
21 (Thu) July 2022
Broccolini in Oyster Sauce
-Changgok, Sujeong, Seongnam, Gyeonggi, Republic of Korea-
with DJ and IZ
My favorite Chinese vegetable dish, possibly all-around vegetable dish, is gailan in oyster sauce. In a restaurant, I will order it if it’s on the menu, which it is in most Cantonese places, like in Hong Kong (see for example 2.332 Xiao Long Bao). Unfortunately, Cantonese restaurants and the vegetable in general are virtually non-existent in Korea (but see 2.221 Gailan in Oyster Sauce).
However, broccolini is now becoming more widely available in local stores (see for example 12.011 Broccolini à la Bordelaise), including our neighborhood supermarket.
In furtherance of my on-going deep-dive into home-style Cantonese cooking, I tried making broccolini in oyster sauce. Broccolini is, in fact, a hybrid of broccoli + gailan (see generally 12.011 Broccolini à la Bordelaise), both members of the Brassica olecera species, so the substitution is within the same gene pool.
Recipe from Made with Lau (see Dad’s PERFECT Chinese Broccoli): parboil broccolini for a few minutes in water + oil + salt, drain, slice into bite-size pieces, drizzle with (olive) oil + oyster sauce.
It came close to the real deal. The taste and texture of the vegetable itself was almost exactly the same, except for broccolini flowers, which were sweeter and softer than the bitter and chewy leaves of gailan. Having always assumed some kind of process went into the sauce, I was very pleased to find that just oil and oyster sauce straight out of the bottles worked fine as is. The only odd misstep was the use of olive oil, as per Made with Lau, resulting in a distinctly un-Chinese flavor of olive oil (I’ll use canola next time). This dish goes into the regular rotation.
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)