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BarbaraY

Gai Lan Question

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I bought a bunch of this at the Farmers Market. Last night I prepared it in a stir-fry with pork made in the usual manner. Stir-fried marinated pork shreds with garlic and set aside. Then stir-fried the Gai Lan, added a splash of water and covered it to steam.

When I uncovered it, it didn't look like it was done so I tried a bite and couldn't even bite through it. Continued to steam it with a little more water for a good 5-7 minutes. The tips were getting tender so I returned the meat to the pan, added the sauce (chicken stock, soy sauce, wine, oyster sauce, and chile-garlic paste.)

It was very tasty but the vegetable was only edible on the tips.

Has anyone had this problem or did I just get a bad bunch?

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I think gailan needs to be blanched in salted water before being stir fried. I cut it into sections so the tougher stems can get into the water a couple minutes earlier than the tender flowers and tips. Shock in ice water then begin your stirfry.

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Thanks, Rachel.

Will try that if I find it again. I loved the flavor.

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Don't forget that Oyster Sauce! :biggrin:

Actually your sauce seems a bit more complex. Usually I've had it JUST with Oyster Sauce alone. Either that or just Oil and Garlic.


Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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Maybe you can try cutting the veggies into smaller pieces or half it even..reduces cooking time that way.Your sauce sounds delicious :smile: Usually, I just stir fry with oil, garlic, salt and oyster sauce.

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The ideal way to prepare gai lan is to water blanch them, arrange on a plate, drizzle a bit of oyster sauce over them and finish with a sizzle of hot oil and garlic.

Go fancier with the same blanched gai lan, top it with a stirfried beef with ginger, garlic and oyster sauce.

Steaming is ok if you are patient. As for doneness, taste test before you serve. The stems should definitely be crunchy.

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I've tried cooking gai lan before and haven't totally succeeded in getting it the way I like it when I get it in restaurants.

I do blanch it in salt water for a bit, but the green color fades after a couple of minutes. However, if it's not blanched long enough, it's too tough to eat.

My mom said something about adding baking soda to the blanching water to get them right, but I'm not sure if I understood her correctly.

Is the actual technique to just blanch?

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I've tried cooking gai lan before and haven't totally succeeded in getting it the way I like it when I get it in restaurants.

I do blanch it in salt water for a bit, but the green color fades after a couple of minutes.  However, if it's not blanched long enough, it's too tough to eat.

My mom said something about adding baking soda to the blanching water to get them right, but I'm not sure if I understood her correctly.

Is the actual technique to just blanch?

I was going to mention the baking soda, too. It's totally optional, and some people prefer not to do it, but adding baking soda to the blanching water helps to tenderize the gai lan and preserve the green color. You don't need much--too much will give the water a soapy taste.

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Separate the stems and the leaves. Blanch the stems longer....10 - 12 minutes. Leaves....around 3. To preserve the bright green color, on fishing out from the boiling water, dunk the vegetables in ice water to stop the residual cooking. Drain.


Edited by Tepee (log)

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Besides plunging into ice water to stop them from cooking, I've found that putting plenty of salt in the boiling water preserves the greenness too. It's also seasonal. Cooler weather will give you more tender and sweet gai lan, warmer weather it's tougher and a little more bitter. I like it all.

regards,

trillium

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In additon to salt in the boiling water, I add a tablespoon of olive oil to keep the greeness, never used baking soda before. If the lower stem is fibrous, I tend to peel the outer layer, like that with asparagus.

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In my opinion, olive oil has that distinctly NON-Chinese taste and odour to it. It has NO place in my cooking. I love it in all types of other cuisines though.

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Thanks everybody.

Here's the plan. I bought another bunch today and will use it tomorrow. Same basic recipe but will blanch in salted water as Tepee suggested adding leaves at the last.

If the stems seem to be extremely coarse I will peel them but I put a thumbnail into one so I don't think it's as tough as the first bunch.

No olive oil in my Chinese food either.

I don't use baking soda in things like beans or peas. It gives green peas a ghastly, poisonous appearence and makes the dry beans mushy and unpleasant tasting.

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I made another stir-fry like the first one but added a bit more oyster sauce, blanched the Gai Lan and it turned out great. Definitely a keeper.

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The ideal way to prepare gai lan is to water blanch them, arrange on a plate, drizzle a bit of oyster sauce over them and finish with a sizzle of hot oil and garlic.

This is absolutely correct.

It is absolutely NOT traditional Chinese to use "olive oil" to preserver the greeness. I'd like to see scientific evidence of this. If you pour olive oil into the water, the olive oil only floats on top of the water. Try it without the olive oil Evan. I'm confident you'll find the "greeness" is the identical.

;)

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I agree with Ben's method as well, although with some slight differences. My Dad taught me to "blanch" the gai lan, in a separate pan heat oil (not olive) with ginger slices, arrange gai lan on plate, sprinkle with a pinch of sugar, pour on hot oil, finish with oyster sauce.

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The ideal way to prepare gai lan is to water blanch them, arrange on a plate, drizzle a bit of oyster sauce over them and finish with a sizzle of hot oil and garlic.

This is absolutely correct.

It is absolutely NOT traditional Chinese to use "olive oil" to preserver the greeness. I'd like to see scientific evidence of this. If you pour olive oil into the water, the olive oil only floats on top of the water. Try it without the olive oil Evan. I'm confident you'll find the "greeness" is the identical.

;)

While using olive oil is not traditional - using an unflavored oil in the cooking water is (as in 'yau choi'). I find that it does effect the final color and finish of the veggie - the oil is picked up by the veggie and does not just 'float on top'. I have done it both ways and the oil does make a difference.

A little oyster sauce on the side and you are ready to go. I've also seen some friends from Northern China dress the vegetable with dark vinegar spiked with dried chilies.

My favorite is to stir fry gai lan with garlic - I love that mustardy flavor that seems to be really excentuated by a hot wok. Hmm mmm. Also as Evan describes - it is common in HK to peel the lower stem if it particularly fiberous so that you maintain the length of the gai lan.


Edited by canucklehead (log)

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