Broccoli From China (Gai Lan)


A lush green vegetable, Chinese Broccoli (gai lan in Cantonese or Jiè lán in Mandarin), can be used in many different recipes.

Even though they’re from the same plant family, these broccoli florets (also known as x lán hu, ) are remarkably distinct.

What Is Chinese Broccoli?

The three main parts of Chinese Broccoli are the leafy ends, the crunchy stalk, and occasionally little floral buds. It is a green-green-blue plant.

However, its leaves and buds are much smaller than regular Broccoli’s. When they were picked, these buds might or might not be visible.

Soft and malleable like spinach, the leaves of this vegetable have a dull gloss to them. Compared to Broccoli or asparagus, their stems are firm and taste a little like Broccoli.

Cooking transforms them into a vibrant shade of green and gives them a sweeter flavor. In addition to tasting great, the tender leaves are a good source of calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C.

Baby Chinese broccoli, often known as Chinese broccoli tips, is now available in Asian supermarkets.

This kind has softer leaves and stems, and you’ll get a smaller amount of stalk per stalk.

Ultimately, whether you like older or younger vegetables is a matter of personal taste.


Stir-frying, boiling, and steaming are all ways to prepare Chinese Broccoli. Braised meals can also be served on a bed of this delectable side dish.

Many of you have expressed concern about handling the thick stems in the comments section.

To remove the rough outer skin from the bottom three inches of each stem, use a paring knife or vegetable peeler and chop off the ends (approximately 1/4 inch).

Cooking the stalks in this way softens and reduces their bitterness. Eat the stems, and apply the same method with western Broccoli if you want to.

If you purchase baby Chinese broccoli, you only need to clip the ends a little. The stalks don’t need to be peeled.

Blanching gai lan leaves in boiling water with a tablespoon of oil is a common method for preparing the dish. You’ve probably seen it on dim sum carts before!

Purchasing and Keeping

Throughout the year, Asian supermarkets carry Chinese Broccoli, which is extremely widespread in the region. Seasonal variations in costs are common, although the overall cost is low.

Avoid any product with yellowing or drooping leaves, brown stains, or too many blooms when purchasing this leafy green. If you see a lot of yellow buds/flowers on the vegetables, they are perhaps too old or not fresh enough.

Identical to larger varieties, baby Chinese broccoli is picked much earlier. Consequently, their stems and leaves are thinner, making them more delicate. As a result, the extra step of removing the outer skin from the stem’s base is no longer necessary.

Keep it in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer, preferably in the plastic bag it arrived in. Use within three days for optimal results. To prevent sand and grit from adhering to the leaves and stems, thoroughly wash your greens before cooking (we triple wash all of our greens).

The best way to clean these greens is to submerge them in cold water in a wide bowl or basin. A few minutes of agitation with your hands are needed to get the dirt out of the vegetables, and they should be soaked for 5 to 10 minutes. If any dirt is left in the basin, it can be easily scooped out.

Then remove the vegetables from the water, rinse the basin, and refill it with new water. Repeat this process a few times until the vegetables are completely submerged.

Despite its distinct flavor and texture, many different greens can be substituted for Chinese Broccoli. For example, bok choy and broccolini can be substituted for Chinese Broccoli.

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