chinese new year: gai lan and beef with garlic

Gai lan, sometimes referred to as ‘Chinese broccoli’ though I have no idea why since it doesn’t really resemble broccoli to me, is probably my favourite Chinese vegetable.  You can sometimes find it at Superstore but if not you can find it at Ngoy Hoa in Regina.

~ 1 and 1/2 bunches of gai lan  /  ~ 500 grams of beef (it really doesn’t matter how much you use and you can use whatever cut of meat you’d like.  Alternatively, you can just omit the beef altogether.)  /  ~ 6 cloves of garlic  /  ~ 3/4 cup chicken stock  /  2 tsp corn starch  /  a few dashes of white pepper  /  salt (to taste)  /  ~ 1 tsp sugar

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Trim about 1 inch off the ends of the gai lan and cut into roughly 2 or 3 inch long pieces.  Thinly slice up the beef and mince the garlic.  In a small bowl combine the chicken stock, sugar, white pepper and a couple pinches of salt.   In another small bowl, combine the cornstarch with about a couple tbsp of water to use as a thickener.  Heat up a bit of canola oil in a wok over medium-high to high heat and add the garlic, gai lan and beef, stir-frying for about 5 minutes or until the gai lan stalks have begun to soften up.  Stir in the chicken stock mixture and bring it to a boil.  Then add in the cornstarch mixture and mix together until the sauce has thickened up a bit and everything has that glossy look.  Season with a bit more salt to taste.

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I used a strip sirloin steak cut but I found it kind of tough so next time I’ll go with a more fatty/marbled cut of beef.  Otherwise, gai lan is best when it’s not overcooked and the stems still have some crunch to them.  Spread the love of gai lan around!

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