Broccoli with Oyster Sauce
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.
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.
Total Timeunder 30 minutes
Recipe Courseside dish, vegetable
Dietary Considerationside dish, vegetable
Five Ingredients or LessYes
Taste and Texturegarlicky, savory, spiced
Type of Dishvegetable
- 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
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.
2000 David Waltuck and Melicia Phillips