Chinese broccoli tastes best if first blanched to retain juiciness and color and to develop sweetness, then sautéed over high heat to seal those in, deepen flavors, and add shine and seasoning. I’ve tried other methods, but this traditional dual process wins out, underscoring the special crunch and bittersweetness of the vegetable. I enjoy the thick, somewhat chewy leaves, but their collard flavor is not to all tastes. If this means you, buy extra and use the stems alone—as is done in many Chinese restaurants, where leaves figure only in soups and stuffings.
This basic preparation can be embellished with sautéed mushrooms, leeks, Chinese chives, winter squash, or beets; or add sautéed seafood, pork, or chicken to make a main dish.