Gai laan with oyster sauce

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

Old Food

Old Food

By Jill Dupleix

Published 1998

  • About

I pinched this technique from the gai laan madame’s trolley at yum cha. First, she blanches the cabbage in chicken broth, douses it with oyster sauce, and somehow manages to produce a platter of perfectly trimmed, neat cabbage, with glossy leaves on top and crunchy stems below, as the juices ooze out and mingle with the oyster sauce and create a light dressing. I can now do it at home, but it’s not the same without the trolley.


  • 500 g (1 lb) gal laan cabbage (Chinese broccoli)
  • 1 slice ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 1 litre ( pints) water or chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce


Wash and clean cabbage and chop into 5 cm (2 in) sections. Divide stems from the softer leaves, which will cook faster. Add ginger and garlic to a pot of simmering, salted water or chicken broth. Add cabbage stems and cook for 2 minutes until they just start to soften. Remove from water and drain in a colander. Add leaves and cook for up to 1 minute until they soften. Remove and drain in a colander.

Arrange a neat layer of stems on a warmed serving plate and top with a neat layer of leaves. Drizzle oyster sauce on top and serve immediately.