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Broccoli with Oyster Sauce

Updated February 23, 2016
(1 Votes)

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This is my version of a standard Chinese recipe that never fails to please. Most often I make it with broccoli because I always have some on hand and it’s the only vegetable my son, Jake, will eat (he loves this dish), but feel free to substitute green beans, snow peas, sugar snaps, or a medley of vegetables. The combination of oyster sauce, Thai fish sauce (nam pla), and Chinese black vinegar is extraordinarily flavorful. For some additional zing and a touch of pepper heat, you could add hot red pepper flakes or some fresh minced chile.

With a big bowl of plain white rice, this is good as a vegetarian main course, and it’s perfect alongside Chicken with Black Mushrooms and Chinese Sausage, Grilled Quail with Soba Salad and Scallions, Sautéed Salmon with Brown Butter, Lemon, and Capers, or David’s Famous Fried Chicken.

Oyster Sauce

Thick, shiny brown oyster sauce is an all-purpose Cantonese seasoning mixture made with extract of dried oysters, salt, water, and caramel coloring, plus a little cornstarch as a stabilizer. The strong, distinctive, almost meaty flavor is simultaneously sweet and smoky. Oyster sauce is often used as a flavoring for dipping sauces, vegetable stirfries, and various meat or broccoli dishes. The best-quality versions, such as Lee Kum Kee Premium, Hop Sing Lung Oyster Flavored Sauce, and Sa Cheng Oyster Flavored Sauce, can also be used on their own as dipping sauces. The sauce will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator.

SERVES4

Cooking Methodstir-frying

CostInexpensive

Easy

Total Timeunder 30 minutes

Kid FriendlyYes

Recipe Courseside dish, vegetable

Dietary Considerationside dish, vegetable

Equipmentwok

Five Ingredients or LessYes

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturegarlicky, savory, spiced

Type of Dishvegetable

Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch broccoli
  • ½ cup canola or other vegetable oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup oyster sauce (see Notes)
  • 2 tablespoons Thai fish sauce (nam pla)
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar or balsamic vinegar

Instructions

Trim and discard the thick stems from the broccoli. Cut the florets from the remaining stems, then peel the stems and cut into thin slices.

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the broccoli and blanch for 1 minute, then rinse under cold running water to stop the cooking and drain thoroughly.

Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the garlic and stirfry quickly until fragrant and very lightly browned, about 15 seconds. Add the broccoli, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and vinegar and stir-fry until heated through and a light sauce has formed, about 45 seconds. Serve immediately.

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I'm sorry, this recipe is a TOTAL FAIL. I made the mistake of making it for my wife after coming back from the Asian market with a load of premium ingredients. Following the recipe, I was a bit surprised when it called for a cup of oyster sauce, but figured I'd go with the flow since it was my first time. I did notice that it called for way too much fish sauce so I used less than half of what was called for. When I tasted it, I nearly gagged. It was like eating a salt-lick. Totally inedible. I tried salvaging it with some brown sugar and adding a bunch more broccoli to spread out the sauce over more ingredients but to no avail. Ultimately, my wife put the broccoli in a colander and rinsed off the sauce. Later, when I read the Lee Kum Kee bottle, it said to use 4 tbsp per pound of ingredients. One cup is 16 tbsp so there's no way this recipe would work. A final note, 1/2 cup of oil for wok cooking is way too much. Maybe 4x too much. Last time I try a recipe with no comments and user ratings!

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