Sunday, January 10, 2010

Kai-Lan (Gai Lan) with Beef

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Kai-Lan (芥蘭 if written) is known by several names including Gai Lan, Chinese broccoli, Chinese kale. It's from the same species of plant such as Broccoli, and has a slightly bitter taste. It is a cold-weather vegetable, meaning that now is actually the best time to get it in the supermarkets. One of the main differences when cooking this compared to Broccoli is that both the Kai-Lan leaves and stalks are actually eaten.

  • Several of bundles of Kai-Lan (the local chinese supermarket may have them pre-bundled and bagged already)
  • 1-2 gloves of garlic
  • 1-2 slices of ginger
  • 1/4 pound of sliced beef, marinated with soy sauce and small amount of ginger juice.
  • 1/2 a small onion, sliced
  • 1 flat teaspoon Sugar (since Kai-Lan is bitter)
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Oyster Sauce
  • Cornstarch

To make the Kai-Lan with Beef:
  1. Wash the Kai-Lan and chop by first removing the leaves, then breaking down the stalk into bite sized pieces. Chop the stalk at an angle (as indicated by red lines in the following photo) to make the pieces more visually appealing. Wash the Kai-Lan one more time.
  2. Heat up a wok on high-heat and add vegetable oil. Once heated, toss in the ginger slices. After about 15-20 seconds, add the Kai-Lan to the wok - it will immediately start to sizzle and crackle. Immediately add the sugar to the Kai-Lan, stir around, and cover the wok.
  3. After about 5 minutes, check on the Kai-Lan and see if the stalks are tender to the bite. If not, mix around and cover for an additional minute as necessary.
  4. Remove the Kai-Lan from the wok, but retain the condensation from the Kai-Lan in a bowl.
  5. Add a bit of oil to the wok again under high heat. Toss in the onion and garlic pieces, and stir around. After about 30 seconds, add the beef to the wok and continue to stir-fry. If the wok/beef appears extremely dry during the cooking process, add a tiny amount of the Kai-Lan condensate to the wok.
  6. Make a sauce by adding 1/4 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp soy sauce, 1/2 tsp oyster sauce, and 3/4 tsp cornstarch to 1 tablespoon of water. Mix evenly and pour into the wok. Once the sauce bubbles, it's done. You may double the quantity of sauce made if required.
  7. Remove the beef from the wok and place onto the Kai-Lan. Serve hot.