What is Gai Lan?
Gai Lan or kai-lan is the Cantonese name for Chinese broccoli or Chinese kale. It is a leaf vegetable with thick, flat, glossy blue-green leaves with thick stems, and florets similar to broccoli. Gai Lan is eaten widely in Chinese cuisine including stir-fries with ginger and garlic or boiled or steamed with oyster sauce. It is also common in Vietnamese, Burmese, and Thai cuisine. Broccolini is a hybrid between broccoli and Gai Lan
The Health Benefits of Gai Lan
Gai Lan like many vegetables is nutrient-dense and contains a variety of healthy nutrients including vitamin A and C. These nutrients act as antioxidants that can protect your body against oxidative damage, may help to boost the immune system, and reduce the risk for certain cancers. Vitamin A can also help to maintain good eyesight.
Green leafy vegetables, including Gai Lan, are a source of folate needed for the body to form red blood cells and for those pregnant, prevent neural tube defects during fetal development.
The high fiber content of Gai Lan can prevent constipation and promote good bowel health. Fiber can also fill you up faster and reduce the urge to eat more or snack between meals.
Potassium in fruits and vegetables, including Gai Lan, may reduce one’s risk of high blood pressure. Potassium, together with vitamin K, magnesium, and calcium found in Gai Lan, can promote healthy bones.
Gai Lan Recipes
Gai Lan Stir Fry
-1 lb Gai Lan / Chinese broccoli
-2 tbsp vegetable oil
-1½ inch ginger (peeled and cut into thin slices)
-2 cloves garlic (minced)
-4 oz mushrooms (optional)
–Bok Choy (optional)
-2 tbsp soy sauce
-1 tbsp Shao Hsing cooking wine
-1 tsp corn starch mixed with 2 tbsp water
-1 tsp sesame oil
1.Wash and drain Gai Lan thoroughly. Trim 1 inch off the end of the stalks. Cut off each leaf from the stalk and then cut the leave into 2 or 3 bite-size pieces at a diagonal, about 2 to 3 inches in length. Cut the top part of the remaining stalk into bite-size pieces as well, leaving the remaining end of 3 to 5 inches. This woody section should be peeled with a paring knife before cutting diagonally into bite-size pieces. Stems and leaves should preferably be separated.
2.Heat a wok or large pan. When it is hot, add vegetable oil. Sauté ginger for about 1 minute. Stir in garlic for 30 seconds.
3.Add the Gai Lan stems and mushrooms (if using). Fry for about 2 minutes. Bok Choy can also be added here.
4.Now, add the Gai Lan leaves, soy sauce, and Shao Hsing cooking wine. Stir fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Gai Lan leaves should be wilted but still crunchy.
5.Pour in cornstarch mixture. Stir to combine for another 1 to 2 minutes. Corn starch mixture will thicken.
6.Turn off the heat. Drizzle sesame oil over vegetables. Remove and serve immediately.
Gai Lan Quinoa Bowl
-1 cup Cabbage, purple
-1 Carrot, large
-1 cup Vegetable stock-
-2 tbsp Lime juice
-1/2 cup Quinoa
-1 Red pepper
-1/4 tsp Salt
-1 tbsp Chili pepper oil
-13 tsp Olive oil
1/2 cup Cashews
-3 tbsp Cashew butter
-1/2 pound gai lan
Spicy Chili Dressing
-1/4 cup olive oil
-1 tbsp chili pepper oil
-2 tbsp lime juice
-3 tbsp cashew butter (or almond butter)
Instructions – makes 2 bowls
1.Steam the gai lan, then chop it coarsely. Set it aside.
2.Cook the quinoa: Add the quinoa, vegetable stock, oil, and salt to a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat, cover it, and cook it for 15 minutes.
3.Divide the quinoa between two bowls. Divide the gai lan, carrots, purple cabbage, peppers, and cashews between the bowls.
4.Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients. Divide between the two bowls.