A plate of poached veggies served with Cantonese style oyster sauce is the quickest way to enjoy the freshness of the ingredients. Find out how real Cantonese restaurants serve this simple dish.
A simple broccoli served with oyster sauce might not sound very special. You can find recipes for it everywhere. The truth is, I posted a very similar recipe a while ago. But only after traveling to Guangzhou did I find out that I have been cooking this dish the wrong way.
Instead of adding plenty of fresh herbs, such as ginger and garlic, Cantonese style poached veggies are served with a simple drizzle of oyster sauce. That’s it.
The idea is contradictory to my basic understanding of Chinese cooking. No matter whether cooking a stir fried dish, braised meat, or a bowl of soup, I’d always fetch some fresh herbs that go with the ingredients before starting to prep. Sometimes I might overdo it, but the dish never went wrong.
Also, it’s very difficult to suppress my urge to add a handful of chopped green onions or a pinch of grated ginger to any Chinese dish I make. When the plate of quickly cooked lettuce served with oyster sauce was placed in front of me in Guangzhou, I felt there must be something wrong with it.
Turns out, I jumped to that conclusion too quickly. The sauce was not heavily seasoned with garlic, the way I would usually make it, but the mild savory and sweet sauce went so nicely with the lettuce and brought out its flavor without overpowering it. It was one of the best veggie dishes I’d ever had.
That’s why I want to share this short recipe with you today. The only ingredients you need are a few drops of oyster sauce, soy sauce, and a dash of sugar. No fresh herbs needed. Make sure to cook the sauce slowly to avoiding burning it. You can serve it with all sorts of poached veggies. The most common ones on Chinese menus would be lettuce, gai lan, bok choy, broccoli, and other mustard greens.
This is one of my favorite ways to add greens to my dinner table. It is fast, fuss-free, and super healthy!
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Cantonese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and a pinch of salt (Optional)
- 400 grams broccoli , cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and a spoonful of vegetable oil to the water, so the broccoli will retain its nice color through cooking. Add broccoli. Cook until soft. Strain and place on a plate. (*see footnote 1)
- While boiling the water, combine 1/4 cup water, the oyster sauce, the soy sauce and the sugar into a small skillet. Cook over medium heat until almost boiling. Turn to low heat. Cook until the sauce reaches desired thickness.
- Drizzle the sauce onto the broccoli right before serving.
- As an alternative, you can steam the broccoli too. Steamed veggies retain even more nutritions.
The nutrition facts are calculated based on 1 of the 2 servings generated by this recipe.
Questions and Reviews
Maggie, this looks SO good. I can almost taste the sauce and feel the crunch of the crisp broccoli. Lovely photo.
Simple and delicious! Loving that new blue board! How are you doing finding all the supplies you need at the Asian food markets near you or do you need a Bam delivery?
Thanks for the recipe– so simple yet it turned out soooo delicious. Can’t believe I’ve never cooked broccoli this way before!
Hi Hannah, I’m so glad to hear you like this recipe! It’s so simply isn’t it 🙂 Have a great day!
I made this simple recipe and it was delicious. I would like to know, Maggie, if you can recommend any particular brands of oyster sauce?
I Julie, I always use Lee Kum Kee oyster sauce because they invented it 🙂
Great, Thanks! I’m going to tackle your Sichuan all purpose chili garlic sauce and Kung Pao chicken this weekend…
My pleasure Julie! Happy cooking and hope the dishes turn out great! Keep me posted once you tried them 🙂
It’never a good ideas to “boil it until it’s soft”. Unless it’s cauliflower. I like it just as it turns gray. Like mother use to make. “Blanch” maybe?
Maggie, I wouldn’t say that your first broccoli recipe was wrong, only different. My Catonese mom would saute her broccoli in oil seasoned with ginger and garlic. She would add a little brown sugar and a splash of sherry. Quite lovely.
Really good. I made this to go with the General Tso’s Chicken just wanting something green. But this was delicious.
if you increase portions and sauce ingredients, do you also increase the amount of water?
Yeah you should increase the water if doubling the sauce, otherwise the sauce will be quite salty.
I got a large amount of broccoli for my weekly produce delivery and this was such a great recipe to make to help me consume it all! I have made this twice already, and I just can’t get enough of it. So subtly sweet and delicious. Honestly such a great way to add flavor to my weekly veggies! Thank you again for sharing, I appreciate and am so grateful for your posts.
Wow wow wow! After living in Beijing for 2 years and working for Chinese companies for more than 10 years, I’m an absolute fan of all your recipes! I wanted to try your Hong shao rou, but my husband was leaning more towards something he was familiar with. I tried this one for a Chinese take-out craving and it was spot on. My husband was horrified when I added the chicken to the sauce (he thought it would get soggy and I thought also it was probably not a great move on my end). But it stayed crispy and it was so delicious! We ate white rice and your Cantonese broccoli with it. Can’t wait to try your La zi ji ding!! 🥳🥳🥳