Gai lan

Gai lan

Have You Eaten
Billy Law

Gai lan is one of my favourite Asian vegetables, and it is a very popular yum cha dish in Chinese restaurants. Similar to kale or broccoli, gai lan (or Chinese broccoli as it is also called) has crisp, thick stems and dark green leaves. It does take a little longer to cook compared to the other Asian vegetables — about 2 to 3 minutes.


Quantity Ingredient
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves plus 2 garlic cloves, all finely chopped
1 bunch gai lan, washed and cut into 5 cm lengths
2 tablespoons light soy sauce, plus extra to serve
dash sesame oil
pinch ground white pepper


  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a wok, add 3 cloves chopped garlic and fry until golden. Remove from the wok and set aside (keeping the oil in the wok).
  2. Reheat the wok, then add the remaining garlic and the gai lan and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil, toss to combine, cover with the lid and let it steam for 2 minutes.
  3. Stir well and transfer to a serving plate. Sprinkle the fried garlic over the top, then give it another dash of soy sauce and a smidgen of white pepper.

Asian greens

  • A huge variety of Asian vegetables are available in the supermarket these days. They are easy to cook, healthy and full of flavour, and I think they are totally underrated; many people shy away from them simply because they don’t know what to do with them. Keep it simple is the key — less is more. All you need is a wok and a few ingredients, and the vegetables only need a quick stir-fry, so they stay crunchy and retain all their nutrients.

    The Asian greens used in this recipe are interchangeable with others, so mix and match however you like. A good tip is to soak them in a sink filled with tap water, with a tablespoon of salt. Any dirt or soil will get washed out and fall to the bottom of the sink, and the salt will kill any slugs or bugs hidden in the leaves.

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