Chinese Broccoli

6 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Chinese Broccoli is a delicious quick stir fry flavored with sesame oil, garlic, chicken broth, and soy sauce. Make this easy side tonight!

This easy vegetable recipe makes the perfect side to serve with your favorite Chinese Food recipes. Flavorful Chinese Broccoli tastes amazing with classic dishes like Baked Orange Chicken, Chinese Honey Chicken, and Easy Pepper Steak.

While you may find broccoli florets in American Chinese restaurants, this leafy green vegetable is what you’d find in traditional Chinese cuisine. Chinese Broccoli is flavorful, easy to prepare, and wonderfully healthy. It also has an incredible green color that will brighten up any table.

Sabrina’s Chinese Broccoli Recipe

Following this recipe, it’s easy to prepare restaurant-style Chinese Broccoli. After cooking the vegetables with chicken broth and garlic on the stovetop, they have the perfect crunchy texture and lots of Asian flavors. The finished dish is tossed in soy sauce and sesame seeds for an easy, delicious vegetable for all your favorite Asian meals.

Once it’s done, you can serve this versatile vegetable on the side of any of your favorite Asian dishes or serve it up with a bowl of rice for a delicious vegetarian dish. Just keep in mind, if you want to make this recipe completely vegetarian, you’ll need to swap out the chicken broth for vegetable stock.

Can I make Chinese Broccoli ahead?

Yes, this recipe won’t keep well in the freezer, but you can make it a few days in advance and store the broccoli in the fridge. Reheat on the stovetop or on a baking sheet in the oven to maintain a delicious crisp texture.


  • Oil: For the cooking oil, I used a combination of vegetable oil and sesame oil. Cooking with sesame oil is a great way to add a distinct nutty, earthy flavor to your recipe. But sesame oil has a much stronger flavor than most oil options, which is why I diluted it with one part vegetable oil. Vegetable oil is more flavorless, so the combination of the two balances each other well.
  • Chicken broth: Instead of steaming the veggies in a pot of water, I opted to use chicken broth for this recipe. Using broth or chicken stock is an easy way to infuse green vegetables with an extra boost of flavor. But, if you want to keep the recipe vegetarian, you can swap the chicken broth out for vegetable broth.
  • Garlic: To add bold flavor to the vegetable recipe, you’ll include 5 minced garlic cloves. Cook the garlic in oil before adding the vegetables. As the garlic cooks, it becomes fragrant and releases its flavor into the whole recipe.
  • Chinese broccoli: You should be able to find Chinese Broccoli or Gai Lan in the fresh produce section of your local grocery store. If not, the Chinese vegetable will definitely be available at your local Asian market. When selecting the vegetable, make sure to find a bunch with bright green leaves and no yellow spotting.
  • Soy sauce: Tossing the cooked broccoli in soy sauce is an easy and flavorful way to finish the recipe. It adds a strong salty flavor but also brings in some sweet and umami flavors.
Chinese Broccoli ingredients laid out on counter in small prep bowls and broccoli leaves in large bowl.

Kitchen Tools & Equipment

  • Wok: A wok is a versatile kitchen pan that isn’t just for a quick stir-fry! You can use it for steamed vegetables or deep frying too. You want a wok with a lid for steaming purposes like in this recipe.
  • Chef’s Knife: A good quality chef’s knife makes trimming and cutting your broccoli and other favorite vegetables a breeze. 

How to Make Chinese Broccoli

Time needed: 15 minutes.

  1. Prep Broccoli for Cooking

    Run the broccoli under cold water to wash them, and use a clean kitchen towel to gently pat the leaves dry. Cut the bottom part of the stalk off of the broccoli. The lower part of the stem is stiff and tough to eat; this is the part you want to cut off before cooking.Chinese Broccoli ingredients in pan

  2. Season the Wok

    Add the vegetable oil and sesame oil to a large, heavy skillet or wok that you have a lid for. Turn the stovetop to medium heat. Add the minced garlic cloves to the cooking oil and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant, stirring as you cook.Chinese Broccoli ingredients in pan

  3. Stir Fry the Broccoli

    Add the chicken broth and Chinese Broccoli to the pan. Place the lid on the pan and steam for 3 minutes. Then remove the lid, and stir the broccoli while continuing to cook for 3 minutes until softened to the perfect texture.Chinese Broccoli ingredients in pan

  4. Season and Serve

    Remove the pan from the heat. Season the broccoli with kosher salt and black pepper. Stir in the soy sauce and sesame seeds to serve.Chinese Broccoli ingredients in pan

Nutritional Facts

Not only is Chinese Broccoli healthy, but it’s one of the most nutritious vegetables you can eat. These leafy greens are a rich source of iron, vitamin A, and vitamin C. They also have one of the highest calcium contents that you can find in any food. 

Side Dishes for Your Chinese Broccoli

Main Dishes: Make this a complete Chinese dinner by serving your broccoli dish with favorites like Orange Chicken or Mongolian Beef. For vegetarians, serve with Mapo Tofu and use veggie broth in this recipe.

Side Dishes: Combine this cooked broccoli to your rice and noodle sides to make them even healthier. Make healthy rice bowls with Brown Rice and your favorite protein. Skip the regular broccoli in your Vegetable Chow Mein and instead add this broccoli at the end.

How to Store Chinese Broccoli

Serve: After cooking, serve the Chinese Broccoli while it’s still warm. You shouldn’t leave the broccoli recipe at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.

Store: To store leftover broccoli, let it cool to room temperature. Then put the broccoli in an airtight container to store in the fridge for 3-5 days.

Freeze: Unfortunately, the broccoli will not keep well after being frozen and thawed. So, if you haven’t finished this recipe within a few days, I’d recommend throwing it out and starting out fresh.

Alternative Cooking Techniques

Instant Pot Chinese Broccoli

  1. Set your instant pot to saute mode.
  2. Add the cooking oil and garlic to the pot, and stir to cook until fragrant.
  3. Add the Chinese Broccoli and chicken stock to the pressure cooker.
  4. Seal the instant pot and cook on high pressure for 4 minutes.
  5. Release the pressure valve, then carefully open the pot.
  6. Season the broccoli, then stir in the soy sauce and sesame seeds before serving Chinese Broccoli.

Frequent Questions

What’s the difference between Chinese Broccoli and regular broccoli?

While normal broccoli is served in short, stalky florets, Chinese broccoli is more of a leafy vegetable. Chinese Broccoli has a long, thick stem and thick leaves. Both broccoli varieties taste similar, but standard broccoli has a milder flavor, and Chinese Broccoli is stronger.

Is Chinese Broccoli really broccoli?

Chinese Broccoli is not the same as the traditional broccoli you likely think of when you hear “broccoli.” Unlike standard broccoli, it has leafy green leaves and no florets. It comes from the same family as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower. It also grows off of a stock similar to classic broccoli. You may also hear about this vegetable called Chinese kale, gai-lan, or kai-lan.

How to select Chinese Broccoli?

When you select your Chinese Broccoli, look for veggies with bright green leaves and smaller stalks. As the stalks grow bigger, they become more bitter and fibrous. The smaller stalks are more tender and tasty.

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Chinese Broccoli

Chinese Broccoli is a delicious quick stir fry flavored with sesame oil, garlic, chicken broth, and soy sauce. Make this easy side tonight!
Yield 6 Servings
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Chinese
Author Sabrina Snyder



  • Add the vegetable oil and sesame oil to a large heavy skillet, that you have a lid for, on medium heat.
  • Add in the garlic, stir, and cook for 30 seconds until fragrant.
  • Add in the chicken broth and Chinese Broccoli; cover and steam for 3 minutes.
  • Remove the cover, continue to stir and cook for 3 minutes until softened.
  • Remove the pan from heat and season broccoli with salt and black pepper.
  • Add in the soy sauce and sesame seeds, stir and serve.


Calories: 143kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.05g | Cholesterol: 0.4mg | Sodium: 601mg | Potassium: 27mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2670IU | Vitamin C: 140mg | Calcium: 117mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword: Chinese Broccoli

Chinese Broccoli Variations

  • Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce: Serving Chinese Broccoli with oyster sauce is a classic Chinese restaurant-style side dish. To prepare this recipe, steam the vegetables as usual. Then instead of topping the steamed broccoli with soy sauce, remove the veggies from the pan using tongs. Then drizzle oyster sauce over the top of the recipe right before serving. Oyster sauce is a common ingredient in Asian cooking because of its distinct sweet and salty flavor. Vegan mushroom oyster sauce is a good alternative if you want to keep this recipe vegetarian.
  • Seasonings: There are lots of delicious seasonings that you can toss the steamed broccoli in before serving. White pepper, onion powder, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, ground cloves, ginger powder, or flaked fresh ginger are all amazing ingredients to add bold flavor to your vegetable recipe.
  • Vegetables: If you want more variety in your vegetable dish, you can add baby bok choi, eggplant, onions, snow peas, and water chestnuts to cook along with the Chinese Broccoli. Cook until the veggies are tender, then toss them all in soy sauce and sesame seeds before serving. Serving them all together makes a delicious vegetable stir fry-style dish that you can serve over rice or noodles.

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Chinese Broccoli plated with chicken thighs and brown rice. Recipe name across bottom and short description in top right "Delicious Asian Side"

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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