I think we need to look again at ways in which to cook this nutritious and delectable vegetable. All too often it is simply boiled to death, which is so unappealing. Stir-frying it with spices transforms it into a special treat. Served warm or at room temperature, it makes a lovely side dish or part of a vegetarian feast.
Separate the broccoli heads into small florets and peel and slice the stems. Blanch the broccoli pieces in a large pan of boiling salted water for several minutes, then immerse them in cold water. Drain thoroughly.
Heat a wok or large frying-pan over a high heat until it is hot. Add the oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, add the garlic, salt, pepper, Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry, chilli bean sauce and sugar. Stir-fry for a few seconds and then add the blanched broccoli. Add a few tablespoons of water. Stir-fry at a moderate to a high heat for 4 minutes until the broccoli is thoroughly heated through. Add the sesame oil and continue to stir-fry for 30 seconds. The broccoli is now ready to serve.
© 1996 Ken Hom. All rights reserved.