Thursday, June 30, 2011

Chinese Broccoli (Gai Lan)

Chinese broccoli is one of those contradictions I will never understand about Chinese food. So much Chinese food is prepared in such a way so that it's easy to eat with chopsticks, a spoon or a combination of chopsticks and rice bowl. Meats and vegetables tend to be cut into small pieces. I've been scolded many times in my childhood for using my fingers to touch anything at the dinner table. It's "barbaric." That didn't last long.

garlic sauteed chinese broccoli and summer squash

The thing with Chinese broccoli is that the stalks are generally prepared whole. That means if you're using chopsticks, you have to either stuff the whole thing in your mouth like some greedy whore or strategically bite pieces off, occasionally getting caught on a piece of the fibrous skin. It's silly.

chinese broccoli, branches removed, stems peeled

But thank goodness for my parents. They never order it in restaurants and when my mom prepares it at home, she does us all a favor and cuts it into manageable pieces. She even peels the stems so that you get the crunch without the fibrous skin, much like some folks peel asparagus.

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