Easy stir fry broccoli with garlic, a really simple side dish to accompany a Chinese banquet. Packed full of flavour, it’s a dish that’s quick to prepare, ready and on the table in no time.
This recipe for our easy stir fry broccoli is an ideal side dish, and delicious served alongside other Chinese style dishes to serve as part of a banquet. Or indeed, mid week with a stir fry for a quick family dinner.
This delicious side dish combines stir fry broccoli with garlic, flavoured with sesame oil and soy sauce. A quick garnish of spring onions and sesame seeds, and the dish is ready to enjoy. My youngest won’t look at broccoli normally, however, stir fried broccoli like this and she clears her plate without question or argument.
Banquet style eating:
Before having my children, I spent some time working in China. While living there, I came to love the simplicity of the food that we ate. Stir frying is a delicious way to eat food, but particularly vegetables. None of the vegetables we ate there were swimming in oil, they were treated with care. Just a hint of sesame oil and a splash of soy, the flavour of the vegetable really shining through.
My colleagues and I ate the local food most nights, preferring the perfectly cooked local cuisine, than the options for Western food done badly. We liked to eat banquet style as is common in Chinese cooking. We all sat around the table, each ordering a couple of our favourite dishes and ensuring a good mixture of meat, seafood and vegetables. The food would be served as it was ready, right into the middle of the table. We would then share the food among us. It was a lovely sociable way to dine.
This broccoli stir fry was a dish often ordered, one we all enjoyed, even those who thought they didn’t like broccoli. Funnily enough by ordering a selection of these delicious sides of vegetables, we found ourselves eating far less rice.
Planning a Chinese banquet:
If planning a Chinese banquet then this simple stir fried broccoli is the perfect vegetable dish. But what else to serve alongside?
Whilst living overseas, two hours drive from Beijing, I enjoyed a lot of Chinese food, and ate very little European food whilst there as it simply wasn’t so good. The food was always served banquet style, with many smaller plates of food set in the middle of the table so that everyone could share it amongst themselves. It’s a lovely way to eat, and the variety of dishes was always balanced, a great selection of meat, fish, sea food and vegetable based dishes.
It’s a lot simpler to cater than you might think. This recipe could work really well alongside some of our other Chinese stir fry dishes. What’s worth noting is that they are all relatively quick cooks!
Can I substitute other vegetables?
If you don’t like broccoli, then you could try cooking other vegetables this way. I’ve tried this with green beans, mange tout and cauliflower in the past. All these vegetables work a treat and taste delicious cooked this way.
Other leafy greens would work well in this stir fry, try hispy cabbage, kale, spinach or Chinese cabbage. However, these greens would not require the 2 minute cook in boiling water first! Simply start from step 2 in the recipe card and add them straight into the wok along with the garlic. They will all wilt quickly.
But don’t be limited by leafy greens from the brassica family!
A mix of colourful peppers could also be cooked this way. Likewise, courgettes are delicious stir fried as the speed of cooking stops them becoming too soft which is often what puts people off this otherwise delicious vegetable. Again, neither peppers, nor courgettes would require par-cooking, instead go straight to stir frying.
Aubergine is another lovely vegetable when stir fried. However, perhaps cook for just a little longer than you would, say a courgette. You want the aubergine to soften a little and thus loose it’s bitterness.
However, I would avoid vegetables that take too long to cook, like squash or sweet potato. The entire point of stir fry is the speed at which you can get it on the table.
Can I make stir fry broccoli ahead of time?
The joy of eating any stir fry food is eating it served hot, straight from the wok. If you cook ahead of time and reheat you will lose the freshness of the vegetables in the dish. However, that’s not to say that leftovers can’t be kept and heated at a later date. It just won’t have the same bite and vibrancy of flavour.
Instead what you could do is prepare the dish ahead of time, ready to stir fry just before you eat. For example, par cook the broccoli for 2 minutes, drain it and plunge it into a bowl of iced water. You can leave it like this until you are ready to finish the cook.
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Additional recipe suggestions:
If you like this recipe then try our Stir Fry Pak Choy which is another simple stir fried side dish that works great as part of a Chinese banquet. Also our Easy Egg Fried Rice, which is a great accompaniment.
Stir Fry Broccoli with Garlic
- 400 g broccoli (cut into florets)
- 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 4 spring onions (sliced)
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- Bring a large saucepan to the boil and cook the broccoli for 2 minutes. Then take off the heat and drain in a sieve.
- Meanwhile, heat up a wok to hot and add the sunflower oil. When the oil is hot add the broccoli and garlic, along with the sesame oil and light soy sauce. Cook for 1 minute on high, moving the ingredients around the wok to combine.
- Serve immediately into a warm serving dish. Garnish with spring onions and sesame seeds before enjoying.
• Please note that the nutrition information provided above is approximate and meant as a guideline only •
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