Steamed Kailan with Oyster Sauce is a popular dish at dim sum restaurants. It is one of the few vegetable dishes available during dim sum hour. Your conscious tells you to get some veggies in your diet, so sure enough you order it. You soon realize that it is exactly how they describe it, steamed kalian drizzled with oyster sauce. Sorry, but how boring is that? This Kailan with Garlic Infused Oyster Sauce recipe is one that takes it to the next level.
What is Kailan?
Kailan or gailan (also known as Chinese broccoli, Chinese kale, jie lan or gai lan) is a leafy green vegetable that is packed with nutrients and is relatively inexpensive. It consists of three distinct parts, all of which are edible. The stem offers a crunchy texture, similar to that of asparagus, with a mild sweetness. The leaves are flavorful with a mild bitterness; think of a muted collard green. If you're lucky and find stalks that are flowering, the florets are quite tasty, comparable to broccolini.
Just about every Asian grocery store carries kailan. I've purchased it many times at American grocery stores as well. I prefer to buy young or baby kailan since the stems are thinner and more tender. When kailan is older, the stems are thick and tend to be tougher. If you can only find older kalian, you can use a vegetable peeler to remove the tough skin off the lower part of the stem. Then cut the kalian lengthwise down the stem. This makes it more tender and helps it cook more evenly.
Tips for Making Garlic Infused Oyster Sauce for Kailan
When making the sauce for this kailan recipe, I recommend using brown sugar if you have it. White granulated sugar will work fine but the molasses in brown sugar adds depth and makes it a richer, more complex sauce. However, the key to this gai lan recipe is the garlic infused oil made by frying minced garlic over medium heat. Adding it to the oyster sauce mixture and topping the kalian with crispy fried garlic, makes this dish better than that of any dim sum restaurant.
- 1 lb kailan
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoon oil, canola, peanut, avocado or grapeseed
- 2 tablespoon oyster sauce
- 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar, or granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon garlic infused oil
- 1 tablespoon water
- In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients for the SAUCE and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add minced garlic and stir continuously until lightly browned. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
- Remove from the heat and strain the garlic with a small strainer over a small bowl to catch the garlic infused oil.
- Stir in 1 tablespoon of the garlic infused oil to the previously prepared sauce. The sauce is ready. Set it aside.
- Thoroughly wash the kailan. If the stems are on the thicker side, cut them in half lengthwise to ensure even cooking.
- Steam the kailan for 5-10 minutes until the stems are tender with a slight crunch. Begin checking at the 5 minute mark.
- Plate the steamed kailan and drizzle the garlic infused sauce over the top and sprinkle with fried garlic.