I found a beautiful bunch of chinese broccoli at the farmers market a few weeks ago. Now to be honest, the leaves were full of holes, but I just had to take it home. This surprised my partner, because I usually pick out my produce very carefully, inspecting it all over. I’d never tried chinese broccoli before, but I like trying new things. And judging by the name, I guessed it could be used similar to broccoli. I wanted to use it in a stir fry, and thought it would go really well with ginger and garlic. I was right! But then again, it’s hard to mess up a stir-fry.
Kai-lan, also known as chinese broccoli, belongs to the same family as broccoli (duh). Being related, they share many of the same health benefits, like supporting the body’s detoxification processes and fighting cancer with its high levels of antioxidants.
I snacked on some of the raw stems while preparing this, and I’m glad I did. They taste like broccoli stems, which in my opinion is the best part, but there was no fibrous skin that needed to be removed first. My mom, and later in life my roommates, always knew to save me the broccoli stems when they cooked so I could later eat them raw. I never understood how people could throw out perfectly good stems!
Serves 2, plus some leftover rice.
1 cup short-grain brown rice
2 cups broth, or water (I used homemade broth)
1 bunch organic chinese broccoli, washed in cold water and sliced
2 large green onions, chopped
1 small organic zucchini, sliced
1 cup organic spinach, chopped
4 small cloves garlic, minced
1″ piece ginger, minced
1 tablespoon organic butter
2 tablespoons wheat-free tamari
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
sesame seeds for sprinkling (I used white and black)
Bring the rice and broth to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer 50 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed. Do not lift the lid during this process.
Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and saute until browned. Add the zucchini and the chopped stems of the chinese broccoli (save the leaves for adding later). Stir in tamari, and saute until the chinese broccoli stems turn bright green and start to soften.
Add the green onions and remaining chinese broccoli leaves, stir and saute until the leaves turn bright green and start to wilt. Add red chili flakes and stir. Add chopped spinach and stir, letting it wilt. You are done as soon as the spinach is wilted.
Serve greens over brown rice. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and add an extra splash or two of tamari if desired.
You can easily make your own broth by collecting vegetable scraps in a large container in the freezer. When my scrap container gets full, I make broth from it to use for soups or cooking grains.
Keep ginger root in the freezer if you don’t use it quickly. Just slice it off as you need it.
Use coconut oil or avocado oil in place of butter for a vegan version.