Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Broccoli with Oyster Sauce...

I'm always looking for ways to perk up vegetables that we have as simple side dishes. Oftentimes, plain ol' roasted or steamed broccoli makes its way onto our table when we don't have a ton of time. After tonight though, this snazzy Broccoli with Oyster Sauce may be first dibs when we have those green florets languishing around in our refrigerator.

In just a tablespoon of heated canola oil, we tossed in a large head's worth of broccoli, first sliced into long, slender pieces, along with a couple cloves of smashed garlic to start sizzling away. To help the broccoli cook through, just enough water was added, which started bubbling right away, creating a steamy environment when the lid was placed on. This shouldn't take too long to do, depending on the thickness of the broccoli stems - if you're unsure if it has cooked enough, err on the side of being underdone. I know I'd rather have a slightly crunchier piece of broccoli than a mushy one!

To bring the salty, complex zip that makes this dish special, a generous amount of the viscous oyster sauce was mixed with soy sauce, cornstarch, water and a pinch of sugar, then stirred into the skillet to coat. The heat in the skillet activates the cornstarch quickly, allowing the slick sauce to tighten up just enough that each crisp-tender floret gets a piece of the action.

Just as before, Jeff was a little nervous about a "fishy" accent as the sauce right out of the bottle can smell a little strong (Jeff has another description for it... we won't go there!), but that didn't translate into the finished dish. We did think there could be two additional ingredients that might have been a nice compliment to this - perhaps a bit of minced fresh ginger and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil for a little bang at the end. If you need this to be completely vegetarian, we have seen "oyster-flavored" oyster sauces, which uses more of a mushroom base, but we've never tried any of them.


  1. I've had this dish at our local Chinese restaurant. Thanks for the recipe. I loved it!

  2. Mother R - Hope you get a chance to try it out!