Broccoli Stir-Fry
October 27, 2004 2:21 PM   Subscribe

How to stir fry broccoli correctly?

Does it need to be pre-steamed?
posted by skwm to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Nah. It's more or less done when it's hot. It'll turn bright green, too. Stir-fried broccoli should be pretty crunchy.
posted by padraigin at 2:26 PM on October 27, 2004

I usually fry it at high heat in a little bit of oil until it just starts to brown, add some mirin or other liquid, turn down the heat, and cover to steam until done.

Also, peel your broccoli stalks.
posted by Caviar at 2:42 PM on October 27, 2004

Hot pan, hot oil, throw flowerettes in, stir stir stir until browned, and still crunchy, few drops of sesame oil, one clove garlic finely minced, another thirty seconds stirring, then sprinkle on some sesame seeds, eat, accept kudos.
posted by Keith Talent at 2:58 PM on October 27, 2004

Ah, this one I can answer 'cause I do it in my sleep. :)

1) First, heat a wok till it's almost smoking. Add about 1 tablespoon of peanut oil (give or take) to this and swirl it around the wok to coat the entire surface.

2) Then, add 2 tsp of minced garlic and 1 tsp of minced ginger to the oil, stirring constantly to make sure it doesn't burn. Do this for about ten seconds, turning the heat down if the aromatics start to burn.

3) Add about 2 cups of broccoli to this and toss around for one minute.

4) Sprinkle two pinches of salt and 1 tsp of sugar onto the broccoli and toss again.

5) If you have any Chinese rice wine, splash a good tablespoon into the wok now. If not, forget it.

6) Add about 3-4 tablespoons of water (chicken stock would be great in its place), turn up the heat to medium high so the water sizzles loudly. Either cover with a lid and cook for another 2 minutes or if you like it crunchier, stir-fry till the water disappears.

7) Optional: Some oyster sauce (about 2 tsp) tastes great with this. If you plan to use it, add it along with the water/stock. (If you add it later, it might burn on the wok surface.) A few pinches of red chilli flakes will add some zest to the stir-fry.

This whole recipe should take about 4-5 minutes total. Don't overcook the broccoli. It should be a lush dark green. If it turns pale again, you've gone too far. It will taste tender-crisp and delicious.

This recipe is also a trifle under-salted if you don't use the oyster sauce, but saltiness is a personal preference. Add more if you like it that way.

If in doubt about the quantity of garlic, add more. Garlic doesn't need a reason. :)

Variation: try sprinkling some freshly cracked pepper on a few florets. It's heavenly.

(And I eat this stuff every other day, so clearly I'm a broccoli lover. I frequently have to convert people who have been emotionally scarred from eating over-boiled buttered broccoli that is so common in the West.)
posted by madman at 3:36 PM on October 27, 2004 [1 favorite]

It's a matter of taste, but I don't think anything should cook broccoli except for steam. You can saute it in a pan with a little oil, but add some water and/or cooking sherry to create some steam. Actually pan-frying in oil is too hot, makes the florets crispy and the stalks rubbery. A bit of gentle steam is what you want. Not everyone likes it crunchy. I do, but most people I've cooked for do not.
posted by scarabic at 5:09 PM on October 27, 2004

Thank you, madman - that recipe worked great! I'll need to try it one or two more times before I get it down properly, but my first try came out pretty well. It went great with some fried tofu, onions, green peppers and black bean sauce. Thanks!
posted by skwm at 6:07 PM on October 27, 2004

One of many recipes for Jade Green Broccoli, which is essentially the same as madman's and is great. I find that it comes out best when I separate the thicker stalks from the florets, remove the tough outer peel with a vegetable peeler, then cut into smaller pieces so that all the different parts are more uniform in size and therefore cook in the same amount of time.
posted by TimeFactor at 9:31 PM on October 27, 2004

TimeFactor is right.

The stalks have a different cooking time from the florets. Always peel the stalk with a vegetable peeler and then slice them fine.

Broccoli stems can be used instead of raw papaya to make the Thai salad Som Tam.
posted by madman at 1:13 AM on October 28, 2004

Yeah, two tips similar to ones above:

1. Peel the stalks
2. Try to ensure that the pieces are approximately the same size and thickness, so they cook at the same rate. You might consider cooking the stalk separately (for a little longer) if you are using more than the bare minimum of stalk to floret ratio
posted by bifter at 2:25 AM on October 28, 2004

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