Sid calls me from Macau where he is attending a mate’s Stag do. (Don't ask...)
"Guess what?" he says. His voice is all shaky with excitement.
"You got a lap dance from a super hottie and then discovered she’s a guy?"
Then, "No. But I ate broccoli. And liked it!"
"You did what?" I ask, just because I need to hear it again.
"I ate broccoli. See, JJ took us out to dinner and he ordered this huge platter of broccoli and I thought it would be rude not to take any, so I took one piece. And then I thought it was quite nice. So I took another. And then, before I knew it, I ate like a quarter of the whole plate."
I am gobsmacked. "No!!" I say, "You’re joking, right? This is a prank that the guys are making you do, I know it"
"No, dude, I’m dead serious. Why do you think I’m calling just to tell you this? OK, expensive call - gotto go."
I can barely believe what I've just heard. I mean, this is absolutely SUPER news. Because Sid hates (hated?) brocolli. And I love it. In fact I love it so much, that I've been known, on the odd Monday afternoon, to casually toss aside a packet of kettle chips for a snack of broccoli.
It made life very difficult for me, this situation. You know, me loving something and the other half hating it. Because everytime I would cook broccoli, I'd get these seriously evil looks. Basically, the ones that roughly translate to, “Grrrr...how dare you spend my hard earned money on broccoli?”
I would therefore only cook broccoli when the evil-looking-other-half (yes, you can read that whichever way you choose to) was safely away at work. And then I'd scramble to remove all traces of it (leftovers consumed, dishes washed, kitchen aerosoled with lavender fumes, et al) before he returned home.
You could well call me, for all practical purposes, a closet broccoli eater.
Until now, that is.
But now – if I've heard right, and Sid isn’t A) talking in his sleep B) dead drunk C) something much worse – it means that I can cook broccoli with reckless abandon, whenever I feel like, as much as I feel like, leave heaps of leftovers and leave the wok unwashed. It’s all just too exciting for words.
So, I’d better get on with it, then.
My broccoli recipe is very, very simple because it so happens, that cooked that way, it is also very, very tasty. See, the secret is to cook it at such high temperatures that it caramelizes, getting rid of that characteristically bitter taste that brocolli-haters always complain about. I stir-fry my broccoli, but roasting will get you the same result (the ingredients are slightly different, email me if you want them!) Here's my recipe for stir-fry though.
Here’s what you need:
- 1 full broccoli, florets + sliced stem
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tspn Lee Kum Kee Chiu Chow Chilli Oil (which is basically a combo of chillies, garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil and which I just bought off Amazon)
Now, please don't get all pissy with me for putting down an esoteric sounding ingredient, especially when it’s part of a 3-ingredient dish. If you can't get your hands on the stuff, don't fret - a splash of soy sauce, a tablespoons worth of sesame oil and 2 teaspoonfulls of chilli flakes should do the trick beautifully.
If you do manage to find a jar, please do not add any additional salt or soy sauce because the stuff’s insanely salty.
So here’s how you do it:
Heat a wok until it's smoking hot. Add in the chilli oil and garlic and cook 30 seconds or so until the garlic is nicely browned. Add the broccoli florets and sliced stem and stir-fry for 1 minute. That’s it! You want the broccoli to be bright green, and crisp tender for that great crunch! Enjoy!