Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce (蚝油芥蓝, Gai Lan)

5 from 5 votes
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The Chinese broccoli is blanched until tender yet crisp, then drizzled with an aromatic oyster sauce that’s sweet and savory. Plenty of fresh ginger and garlic makes the dish so fragrant. A classic dim sum side dish that is almost a must when dining at a restaurant, you can serve it for everyday dinners because it’s so easy to prepare. {Gluten-Free Adaptable, Vegan / Vegetarian Adaptable}

Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce

Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce, or Gai Lan with oyster sauce, is a well known Cantonese dim sum dish. The broccoli is tender yet crisp, served with a savory, sweet sauce that is full of aroma. It’s such a simple dish that only contains 5 ingredients and takes a few minutes to prepare, yet it has an amazing texture and a vibrant flavor.

Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce, ginger and garlic

Fresh ingredients matters

My favorite types of Chinese vegetable dishes are some of the simplest. For example, cucumber salad, choy sum with soy garlic sauce, stir fried pea shoots, or cabbage stir fry. All of them require just a few ingredients, yet the result is fragrant and sometimes bold, with amazing texture. 

I like to compare Chinese cooking philosophy to that of Italian cuisine. Imagine a dish like spaghetti with olive oil and garlic. By using high quality extra virgin olive oil as the foundation, with fresh garlic and black pepper to boost flavor, the finished dish will turn out great, without a doubt.

The logic of Chinese cuisine is the same. To cook the best Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce, you will need some high quality peanut oil, fresh ginger and garlic to add fragrance, and a good oyster sauce.

Ingredients for making Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce

What oyster sauce to choose

Over the years I’ve been using Lee Kum Kee Premium Oyster Sauce. After all, they are the company that invented oyster sauce. 

But last year when I met Grace Young, the stir fry guru who has written several award-winning cookbooks, she told me about Megachef Oyster Sauce. I tried it out and was hooked immediately. Though it is not a brand that every Asian grocery store carries. If you cannot find it, the Lee Kum Kee one will do the job.

Important:

How to make this dish vegetarian / vegan

Lee Kum Kee also produces a mushroom sauce that mimics the flavor and texture of oyster sauce. Whenever I cook this dish for my vegetarian friends, I swap the oyster sauce with the mushroom sauce. The result is just as good. 

How to prepare Chinese broccoli

To make the best Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce, the key is to prepare the vegetable correctly so it has the best texture.

To prepare the Chinese broccoli:

  1. Cut off the larger outer leaves, leaving the thick stem with smaller leaves attached at the top. 
  2. Use one hand to hold the stem on a cutting board, and use a knife to peel the thick skin from the stem. It is important to use a knife instead of a peeler, because you want to remove the fibrous and chewy part and expose the very tender stem. A peeler won’t go deep enough.
  3. For the extra thick stems, you can cut a slit in the middle, so the stem will cook as evenly as the leaves.
How to cut gai lan
Gai Lan with oyster sauce

How to cook Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce

Cooking Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce couldn’t be easier.

  1. Blanch the Chinese broccoli until the stem just turns tender. Rinse with cold tap water to stop the cooking. Dry and plate the Chinese broccoli with minimal overlap.
  2. Fry the ginger and garlic with oil to release the fragrance.
  3. Add the oyster sauce.
  4. Pour the oyster sauce mixture over the blanched Chinese broccoli. 

That’s it! 

TIP:

Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce cooking step-by-step
Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce close up

Afterthought

In addition to Chinese broccoli, you could also use the sauce on many other types of vegetables such as broccoli, broccolini, bok choy, and asparagus. Although my favorite vegetable for this dish is definitely Chinese broccoli. Because the leaves have a richer taste, and the stem has a crispy yet buttery texture once cooked properly. Next time you’re shopping at the Asian market, definitely grab a batch and try this recipe out. You’ll see the magic of a simple yet powerful dish that lets the vegetable shine. 

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The Chinese broccoli is blanched until tender yet crisp, then drizzled with an aromatic oyster sauce that’s sweet and savory. Plenty of fresh ginger and garlic makes the dish so fragrant. A classic dim sum side dish that is almost a must when dining at a restaurant, you can serve it for everyday dinners because it’s so easy to prepare. {Gluten-Free Adaptable, Vegan / Vegetarian Adaptable}

Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce (蚝油芥蓝, Gai Lan)

5 from 5 votes
The Chinese broccoli is blanched until tender yet crisp, then drizzled with an aromatic oyster sauce that’s sweet and savory. Plenty of fresh ginger and garlic makes the dish so fragrant. A classic dim sum side dish that is almost a must when dining at a restaurant, you can serve it for everyday dinners because it’s so easy to prepare. {Gluten-Free Adaptable, Vegan / Vegetarian Adaptable}
You can use vegetarian oyster sauce to make this dish vegan / vegetarian. You can use a gluten-free oyster sauce to make this dish gluten-free.
Author: Maggie Zhu
Course: Side
Cuisine: Cantonese, Chinese
Keyword: dim sum
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 10 oz (300 grams) Chinese broccoli , tough ends and stem surfaces removed
  • 1 tablespoon garlic , minced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger , minced

Instructions

  • Combine the oyster sauce, sugar and 2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl. Mix well and set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and a drizzle of oil for vibrant color (Optional). Add the Chinese broccoli and boil over medium heat, until the broccoli is cooked through and the stem part remains crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain broccoli, rinse with cold tap water for a few seconds to stop cooking, then drain again and transfer to a large plate. Spread them out so there’s little overlap. If the Chinese broccoli is very wet, you can use paper towels to pat the surface dry.
  • Heat a small skillet or a saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add peanut oil, garlic and ginger. Stir a few times until fragrant.
  • Turn to low heat. Add the oyster sauce mixture and stir immediately. When the sauce becomes fragrant, after 10 to 20 seconds, pour the oyster sauce over the Chinese broccoli. Serve immediately as a side dish.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 101kcal, Carbohydrates: 8.8g, Protein: 3.9g, Fat: 6.8g, Saturated Fat: 1.2g, Sodium: 137mg, Potassium: 31mg, Sugar: 1.1g, Calcium: 5mg, Iron: 5mg
Did You Make This Recipe?Don’t forget the last step! Leave a comment below, and tag me @OmnivoresCookbook and #OmnivoresCookbook on Instagram!

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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Christine | No Gojis No Glory says:

    I wish I had seen this earlier! I was looking for a good veggie side dish to go with the dinner we had yesterday. Pinning this! I need to spice up the way I make veggies 🙂

    • Maggie says:

      Thanks for sharing Christine! This is one of my favorite veggie side dishes. So quick and easy to cook. 🙂
      Have a great weekend!

  2. Michelle @ The Complete Savorist says:

    I love Chinese broccoli and the simplicity in which you make it. Your spaghetti analogy was spot on.

    • Maggie says:

      Thanks Michelle! Sometimes the simplest dishes are the best 🙂

  3. cheri says:

    Hi Maggie, I don’t think I’ve ever had Chinese broccoli before, looks delicious, love the way you prepared it. Great video!

  4. Jo says:

    5 stars
    This is one of my favourite vegetable dishes. Everyone in our family loves it! It’s simple, yet so good.

  5. Bonnie says:

    5 stars
    What a delicious and simple recipe!!! We now include it into our dinner rotation. Thank you so much Maggie! We love how you make cooking so much easier with your blogs and photos

  6. Dr. Nicol Murray says:

    5 stars
    I have delighted in Chinese food for many yearas, but did not know how to cookit, until this delightful and clever lady came along. Maggie has “shown” me how to, with what, and when. Bless you dear lass and a thousand thanks. Dr. Nic

  7. Ravi says:

    5 stars
    Very tasty, easy recipe! I’ll make this again (might try a different green next time for variety)

  8. maya says:

    5 stars
    This was amazing and easy. Glad that you came up on my google search.

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