Stir Fried Chinese Broccoli

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This Stir Fried Chinese Broccoli with garlic, ginger, and oyster sauce is an easy side dish that is packed with flavor. Add this delicious veggie to your rotation for a new, tasty Asian side dish.

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Gai Lan, more commonly called Chinese Broccoli, is a delicious and easy veggie to cook and pairs great with any Asian dish. Stir-frying Chinese broccoli is a quick and easy way to cook this nutritious vegetable. If you love broccoli or broccolini, it's time to try this Chinese version.

The veggie world is wide and wondrous, don't you think? We have so many choices at our local grocery stores and that's just what your store imports from your local (and not-so-local) farmers.

Varieties we are used to, like broccoli, carrots, celery, lettuce, and cucumbers are commonplace and probably on your grocery list every week.

But I've been seeing a lot more produce choices in my grocery store in the past couple of years. Things like lemongrass, okra, tomatillos, and, one of my all-time favorites: Chinese broccoli, also known as Gai Lan.

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I started by adding Chinese broccoli to stir-fries with other vegetables, but I also like to eat it all by itself, too. Cooked up with some other healthy ingredients like coconut oil, garlic, ginger, and oyster sauce, this dish is very hearty and filling, and goes great as a side dish to many Asian foods or any dish really!

Ingredients for stir fried Chinese broccoli including broccoli, garlic, soy sauce, ginger, and coconut oil.

What is Chinese Broccoli?

Chinese broccoli is also called Chinese kale. It's a leafy veggie with roundish, wavy, flat glossy leaves, and has thinner, thick stalks (about 15-20 cm long and 2 cm in diameter). Its florets are way looser and smaller than regular broccoli. It's a little bit more bitter than regular broccoli, especially when eaten raw. When cooked, it loses a lot of that bitter taste. It's used in a lot of Chinese restaurants as a stir-fry vegetable. 

Traditionally Chinese broccoli is called Gai Lan in Cantonese.

What can I substitute?

No Chinese broccoli? No problem. You can substitute broccolini, broccoli rabe, or regular broccoli in this Stir Fried Chinese Broccoli Dish. Any and all will be delicious!

What makes it healthy?

Chinese broccoli is low in calories, fat free, and full of vitamins and minerals like vitamins B6, C, A, K, and B2, as well as fiber, folic acid, manganese, calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, and copper.

The vitamins and minerals in this broccoli variation are essential for a healthy heart, can fight inflammation, keeps your eyes and bones healthy, and can even help treat some kinds of cancers when used in combination with other cancer-fighting drugs.

How do you make Stir Fried Chinese Broccoli?

First, you get the Chinese Broccoli ready for the stir fry. I trim the bottom of the stems to get rid of the woody bottom. Then, I cut the leaves away from the stems, chop the stems, then chop the leaves, leaving both in separate piles because they need to cook for different amounts of time.

Next, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Then, add in the garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant, adding in the stems to the pan and stirring to coat in the oil. Cook the stems for about 3-4 minutes or until they are bright green, remembering to stir often.

Add in the leaves, stirring to coat in the oil, then add in the water or broth and put a lid on the pan. Let the leaves wilt down for about another 3-4 minutes until they are also bright green and you can stab a stem with a fork.

Remove the stems and leaves with a slotted spoon to a bowl, leaving the liquid in the pan. Finally, add the oyster sauce to the liquids in the pan and cook the sauce all together for another 1-2 minutes so it thickens. Then, pour the sauce over the Chinese Broccoli and season as needed.

Stir fried chopped Chinese broccoli in a white dish with garlic, ginger, coconut oil, and soy sauce.

Ideas for using Chinese Broccoli

  • The most obvious way to use this versatile vegetable is to add it to other veggies (or alone) in a stir fry. Add the leaves during the last couple of minutes of cooking for best results.
  • You can eat Chinese Broccoli raw. I like to dip it in hummus alongside other vegetables.
  • Toss Chinese Broccoli with thin strips of chicken or steak, add your favorite Asian-inspired sauce and serve over rice or cauliflower rice.
  • Cook Chinese Broccoli and add it with other vegetables to use as stuffing inside egg rolls.
  • Use leftover stir-fried Chinese Broccoli as a topper for an Asian-inspired bowl with other similar ingredients like rice, tofu, chopped peanuts, bamboo shoots, and of course lots of Sriracha!

Looking for more Asian vegetable recipes?

The Recipe
Stir fried Chinese broccoli chopped and cooked with garlic, ginger, and oyster sauce in a dish.

Stir Fried Chinese Broccoli

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  • 1.5 lbs Chinese broccoli
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1/4 cup water (or vegetable broth)
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce (more to taste)
  • 1 Salt and pepper (if needed)

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Prepare the Chinese Broccoli. Cut off the bottom stems, about 1 inch and discard. Then cut the leaves away from the stems. Roughly chop the stems in one pile. Roughly chop the leaves in a separate pile.


Heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the stems to the pan and stir to coat in oil. Cook for 3-4 minutes until bright green, stirring often.


Add the leaves and stir to coat. Add the water/broth and cover the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes until leaves are bright green and stems are fork tender. Remove from pan, leaving any remaining liquid in the pan.


Add the oyster sauce to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes to thicken. Pour over broccoli and season as needed.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 2/3 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 58
Calories from Fat 31
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g
Saturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 173mg
Total Carbohydrate 7g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars 1g
Protein 2g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the authorMeet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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