Stir-fried Chinese broccoli and bacon (lop yok chow gai lan)

Chinese broccoli is especially good stir-fried with mellow-flavored Chinese Bacon, a touch of rice wine, sugar, and a hint of garlic. Chinese Bacon is available in Chinese meat markets (though you can make it yourself). To cut thin slices, use a sharp cleaver or a heavy-duty cook’s knife, as it is hard and can be difficult to slice. (See Stir-Fried Chinese Broccoli, for information on broccoli.)

10 stalks Chinese broccoli (gal lan), about 12 ounces
3 ounces Chinese Bacon (lop yok), store-bought or homemade
1 teaspoon thin soy sauce
1 teaspoon Shao Hsing rice cooking wine
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

Wash the Chinese broccoli in several changes of cold water and drain thoroughly in a colander until dry to the touch. Trim 1/4 inch from the bottom of each stalk. Stalks that are more than 1/2 inch in diameter should be peeled with a paring knife, then halved length-wise. Cut the broccoli stalks and leaves into 2 1/2-inch-long pieces, keeping the stalk ends separate from the leaves and buds.

Remove and discard the hard rind and thick layer of fat attached to the rind from the Chinese bacon. Cut into very thin slices cross-wise. In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, rice wine, and sugar; set aside.

Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the vegetable oil and garlic, and stir-fry 15 seconds. Add the Chinese bacon and stir-fry 30 seconds. Add only the broccoli stalks and stir-fry 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, or until the stalks are bright green. Add the leaves and continue stir-frying 1 minute, or until the leaves are just limp. Swirl in the soy sauce mixture and continue stir-frying 2 to 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are just tender but still bright green. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 as part of a multicourse meal.

Taken from Grace Young’s book “The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen” with permission. © Grace Young. Published by Simon & Schuster, Inc. ISBN 0-684-84739-6.