Ginger Garlic Gai Lan

The sweet-tangy sauce is a nice complement to the slightly bittersweet taste of Chinese broccoli (gai lan). You can substitute regular broccoli if gai lan is not available.


1 bunch Chinese broccoli (gai lan), washed and leaves separated from stems
1 to 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and de-germed, minced
1 inch of ginger root, peeled and grated finely, saving juice in small bowl
2 green onions, cleaned and root removed, sliced finely on the diagonal
1/3 cup of good quality (low sodium) chicken or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon of soy sauce, darker Chinese style preferred
1 tablespoon of brandy
1 teaspoon sugar
1 to 2 teaspoons sesame oil (Kadoya Black Sesame oil preferred for deeper, more subtle flavor)
2 to 3 tablespoons of grapeseed, peanut, or canola oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon warm water (optional)


If stems of Chinese broccoli (gai lan) are thick skinned, peel. Cut into two-inch lengths. Shred the larger leaves.

Combine the stock, soy sauce, brandy and sugar together, and set aside.

Heat a wok or ten-inch chef’s pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil, and when hot, add the gai lan stems. Cook, stirring to prevent burning, until the stems are coloring up and getting tender, 1 to 2 minutes.  Add the leaves and toss, cook about 30 seconds to wilt.

Remove the vegetable from the wok, and add 1 tablespoon oil. When hot, add garlic, and then squeeze the grated ginger pulp over the pan to drip the ginger juice in the oil. Add the green onions and toss for 30 seconds. Add the stock, then the gai lan. Toss to coat and heat through. If not using cornstarch to thicken the sauce, cook the dish over high heat to reduce the sauce until slightly thickened.

To make a thicker sauce, this is where the cornstarch comes into play. Mix the cornstarch and the warm water together to form a slurry. When well mixed, pour into the wok and stir, and bring to a boil. This will thicken the sauce. At this point you finish the dish.

Remove the pan from the heat, and drizzle with the sesame oil. Toss to coat well, and serve.

YIELD: 4 servings

SOURCE: Recipe courtesy of  Chef Andrew Cohen


  • Shiitake mushrooms make an excellent addition to this dish. Stem a half-pound of shiitakes, slice in half, and stir-fry them first with 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil. When they are done, remove from the pan and reserve, and then proceed with the recipe. Add the cooked mushrooms to the dish with the gai lan when finishing the sauce.
  • For a main dish, add thin slices of beef or tofu.
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