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Chinese Ingredients - Just Like Blighty
Broccoli or Sai Lam Fa
This page refers to calabrese broccoli, although Chinese regularly cook with sprouting broccoli in green or purple forms. You will find these mentioned with cooking tips under our Chinese vegetables section.

This type of Broccoli has a dense head and originates from Calabria in Italy. It is a brassica, and very closely related to other vegetables such as cabbage, brussel sprouts, and especially choi fa or cauliflower. Sometimes cauliflower is also called Xi Lam Fa.

Whilst you could cook this exactly as in your western kitchen, we have the most delicious and simply recipe that is a stalwart of any Chinese table, especially my own!
Ingredients:

1. A Calabrese washed and cut into bite sizes pieces.
2. A lot of Garlic, perhaps a full or half wardrobe.
3. A hint of salt.

Method:

For best results steam this dish in a suitable container placed inside a wok with a lid and spacer. However, this can also be simmered (Never boiled) or stir fried with a teaspoon of oil.
Image: Broccoli florets or 'sai lan fa' - Click to Enlarge
Taking your wok, add a spacer and several inches of water, cover and bring to the boil, returning to a vibrant simmer.

Take a large metal or ceramic dish, cover the base with water and add the garlic. Add a few grains of salt if you prefer, although this dish does not need it, and too much salt will ruin it completely. Put the cut broccoli on top and add to the wok once it is steaming nicely. Steam until tender, but not overcooked = between 5 and 10 minutes depending upon variables and personal taste.

Once cooked Chinese would simply take the steamed inner dish and serve to table.

I have never experienced this dish outside of China, but know the blend of calabrese and garlic is simply divine! My wife peels the thick root and cuts the remainder into slices (As shown).
Variations:

Normally westerners will add too much salt and not enough garlic, making this dish slightly revolting. Similarly, Chinese love to add chicken bouillon to this, and I think the resultant gravy only detracts from this excellent dish.

Broccoli Au Gratin
is one of the most unusual dishes I have ever been served in Canton, and it is actually quite excellent. Make this exactly as you would Cauliflower Cheese, but use Calabrese florets instead.

Broccoli is far stronger in taste than Cauliflower, so use garlic to meld it, boil the calabrese to remove bitterness, or cook as normal Cauliflower Cheese and add a diced chilli or two for some 'umph!'

Related Recipes:
Potatoe and Broccoli Curry (Vegetarian / Vegan).
This information is as supplied by ourselves, and ably supported by our friends and various internet portals.
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