Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Broccoli with Oyster Sauce

I used to worry about whether or not my cooking tasted authentic. Then one evening a housemate, whose father was from Hong Kong, pushed back her now-empty plate of stir-fried beans and ginger, sighed, and said dreamily, 'You cook just like my father used to.' I took that as permission to cook as much Chinese-style food as I liked – although I stick to very simple dishes.

One of these is a winter mainstay: broccoli with oyster sauce. Once, my children hated broccoli. I got sick of this, so I made them eat a piece a night for the better part of two weeks. At the end of that time, they decided they liked it but only this way. One way is better than none, so now we eat this most weeks, usually with rice and Chinese-style scrambled eggs.

Broccoli with Oyster Sauce

- 12 broccoli shoots, or 1 big head of broccoli
- a champagne-cork sized knob of ginger
- 3 cloves garlic
- peanut or vegetable oil
- scant ½ cup oyster sauce

Make rice and keep it warm. Bring a large pot of water to the boil.

While it is heating, slice the ginger into matchsticks. Bash the garlic with the side of the knife, flick off the paper skin, and slice the remains thinly.

Warm a good swirl of oil in a small saucepan. Tip in the garlic and ginger and fry gently until soft; push and prod it often with a wooden spoon, and do not let it burn. Add the oyster sauce, bring to a boil, then turn off the heat.

Throw the broccoli into the boiling water and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until just tender. Drain, then quickly arrange it on a warm platter and drizzle with the oyster sauce. Serve immediately.

Adapted from a recipe in The Kitchen Diaries: A Year in the Kitchen by Nigel Slater.

(Local: broccoli, garlic, vegetable oil. Not local: ginger, oyster sauce.)

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