This Chicken and Chinese Broccoli stir-fry is a delicious, light meal that truly brings out the best in tender chicken breast and sweet, crunchy Chinese broccoli, or gai lan.
This was one of the very first recipes we posted back in August 2013, when the blog was just a couple months old. Since it hasn’t gotten the most attention, I thought I’d re-test, re-develop, and re-photograph it! Turns out, I had quite a few changes to make.
In this new and very much improved version, we’ve also included metric measurements, clearer instructions, and updated nutrition information. Enjoy!
The Origins of This Recipe
This chicken and broccoli stir-fry recipe was born in my college years. Back in college (side note: I can’t believe I’m now 30, and a person who says things like, “back in college…”), I would get pretty homesick for Chinese food.
I would try to get creative at the dining hall’s do-it-yourself pasta station or partake in the vegan couscous salad (that was all they had if you got there a minute after 8:00). But a few weeks of that would have me yearning for the flavors of my childhood.
Every now and then, I would order Chinese takeout. But rather than your General Tso’s Chicken or Beef Lo Mein, I was looking for something that felt like the home cooking I missed so much.
One day, I thought I’d found my answer on the “special” menu. You know those lit-up, faded food photos that are always above the kitchen? Does ANYONE ever order off that thing? Well that day, I did.
It was just chicken with Chinese veggies. It looked like choy sum or Chinese broccoli in the picture, and I got irrationally happy about it. Finally, a leafy green vegetable that wasn’t lettuce or frozen spinach!
I got back to the dorm with my food, super excited.
But…then I took a bite.
It was salty! It was sandy! (An indication that they hadn’t washed the veg.) I was so disappointed, and my homesickness seemed to double.
I talked to my parents later that week, asking them how I might recreate such a dish, mostly so I could prove to myself that I could cook the food I so longed for.
Well, here it is. On the blog that we later started as a family to finally record these recipes once and for all.
Now, I’m not saying that this one is the recipe that started it all (there were many others). But for me, it represents the triumph of learning how to cook the food of one’s childhood.
Thinly slice your chicken breast against the grain (partially freeze the chicken first for easier slicing).
Add the water, cornstarch, vegetable oil, and oyster sauce.
Massage the marinade ingredients into the chicken until there is no standing liquid.
Set aside for 15-20 minutes while you prepare your other ingredients. For more details on marinating chicken, see our post in How to Velvet Chicken for Stir fry.
After washing, trim the ends off the Chinese broccoli, and tear the stalks into smaller pieces (separate individual leaves, and snap stems in half).
Roughly tear the oyster mushrooms and set aside. If using shiitake mushrooms, slice them. Also prepare your ginger and garlic.
In a measuring cup or small bowl, combine the chicken stock, light soy sauce, oyster sauce, white pepper, sugar, and sesame oil. Set aside.
At this point, you’ve prepared all the ingredients, and you’re ready to cook!
Meanwhile, bring a wok or pot of water to a boil with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Once at a rolling boil, add the greens and blanch for 30-45 seconds.
Quickly remove from the wok with a strainer or slotted spoon, and make sure to drain well of any excess liquid.
Heat a clean, dry wok over high heat until it starts to smoke. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the wok, spreading it around to coat the surface. Add the chicken pieces in one layer, and allow it to sear on one side for 20-30 seconds. Flip, and sear on the other side for 20-30 seconds. Stir-fry for another 10-15 seconds, and remove the chicken from the wok. Set aside.
Lower the heat to medium low, and add another tablespoon of oil to the wok, along with the ginger.
Cook for 1 minute. Turn up the heat to high, and add 2 tablespoons of water to deglaze the wok, along with the mushrooms and garlic.
Stir-fry over high heat for 1 minute, and add the Shaoxing wine. Stir-fry for 1 more minute.
Stir in the sauce mixture and bring to a simmer.
Quickly mix 1 ½ teaspoons of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water, and pour the mixture into the sauce. Cook for 15 seconds, until the sauce has thickened.
Stir the chicken into the thickened sauce…
And then add the blanched greens.
Stir-fry for another 30 seconds, until everything is combined and coated in the sauce.