Thai-Chinese Stir-fried Broccoli
I mean stir-fried green vegetables in the basically Chinese manner. They show up almost constantly in one form or another in southern Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, and even Malaysian cooking.
To make up for the lapse, here is one of several green vegetable stir-fries I will get onto the blog over the next several months. This particular one is with broccoli, easier for Americans to find than the Asian greens.
Although broccoli is not as frequent as other green vegetables in Asia, and somewhat of a luxury there, it works very well when prepared in the Thai-Chinese manner. That's why it is so common in Chinese and Thai restaurants in the US.
In Thai, unlike in Chinese, cooking, fish sauce replaces soy sauce, and the juices in the dish are not thickened or very oily. The recipe below follows the Thai style.
This makes a fine side dish to a Thai curry or other meat or fish dish and white unsalted rice, and will serve six.
Stir-fried Broccoli, Thai-Chinese Style
2 medium-large stalks (crowns) broccoli
1 medium-large carrot
2 large scallions (green onions), including the greens
1 large clove of garlic
1/2 inch fresh ginger
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as canola (not olive)
1-1/2 tablespoons Chinese oyster sauce (available in Asian groceries)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (available in Asian groceries)
Prepare vegetables and set aside in separate piles on a platter until ready to cook: Cut off and discard all but about 1-1/2 inches of broccoli stem. Peel tough outer skin off stem. Cut broccoli lengthwise into small, similarly sized flowerets, each with a strip of stem. Peel carrot and slice diagonally into long oval pieces about 1/8-inch thick. Cut scallion into 1-inch lengths, slicing on a diagonal. Mince garlic. Slice ginger paper-thin, stack up slices and shred paper-thin.
In wok or large frying pan, pre-cook carrots in a half cup of water, salted lightly, stirring frequently until crisp-tender, about 1/2 minute. Remove to a plate, retaining the water in the pan. Add broccoli and stir and cook in the water until color changes to bright green, about 1/2 minute. Remove broccoli and add to carrots. Reserve water in a cup. Rinse pan.
Heat pan again and add oil, garlic, and ginger. Fry briefly until fragrant, but not browned, 15 to 20 seconds. Add pre-cooked carrot and broccoli plus the scallion. Stir once and add oyster sauce, salt, fish sauce, and a tablespoon or so of the vegetable water.
Stir and fry briefly. Taste the sauce. It should be slightly salty (vegetables will soak more up). If necessary, add a little salt.
Serve immediately on a platter or plate, heaped up in the center.