Chinese broccoli in spicy oyster sauce

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This classic Chinese side dish is simple to make and can be vegetarian if you use vegetarian oyster-flavored sauce.

Chinese broccoli in spicy oyster sauce

Small, pleasingly bitter and full of flavor, Chinese broccoli is an ideal side dish for a Chinese feast or even plain old roasted meats. Chinese broccoli looks a lot like Italian broccolini, which itself looks like a cross between asparagus and broccoli, and has the flavor to match. Still, by itself Chinese broccoli needs a little sauce to pick it up, so we’ll make a slightly spicy sauce using oyster sauce (vegetarian or regular) that will give the dish a little sweetness, a little kick and tons of tongue-teasing umami.

Yields 4 side dish-sized portions


  • 1 pound Chinese broccoli
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 shallots, sliced thin
  • Salt
  • Ice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 tablespoons oyster sauce (vegetarian or regular)
  • 2 tablespoons chicken broth
  • Healthy pinch sugar
  • Red pepper flakes to taste


  1. Trim the ends off the broccoli and remove any dead leaves.
  2. Pour both oils into a skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Once hot, add the shallots and a pinch of salt.
  4. Cook until you are ready to add the broccoli to the skillet (see below.)
  5. Bring a pot of very well-salted water to boil.
  6. Have a bowl of ice cold water near the stove.
  7. When the water is boiling, add the broccoli and boil for 3 minutes.
  8. After 2 minutes, add the garlic to the pan with the shallots.
  9. After the broccoli has been boiling for 3 minutes, remove it from the pot and plunge broccoli into the ice cold water. This will keep it from being mushy.
  10. After the broccoli has been dunked, remove it and shake off any excess water.
  11. Put the broccoli into the skillet with the oyster sauce, broth and red pepper flakes.
  12. Stir to mix and cook until the sauce thickens.
  13. Serve.

Other Chinese delicacies

Chinese New Year recipe: Buddha's Delight
Chinese New Year recipe: Turnip cakes and spring rolls
Chinese chicken with broccoli and carrots

Photo credit: Brian Macdonald/ Photodisc / Getty image