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Sunday, 29 April 2012

Lay Like Broccoli...

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.
Weird, huh?
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, “ 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!


  1. Sounds like you and I have the same problem - Kashef hates brocolli and I LOVE it. Will def. try this recipe, am keeping my fingers crossed on whether I can convert him, will let you know. Btw, have you thought of including a pic of the divine dishes you prepare, to go with each post?

  2. Haha, love it! Do you know according to the BBC, women are meant to have more refined taste buds than men and while men essentially just get the basic "meaty, sweet, salty" women can taste the more nuanced flavours like sour, bitter and so on. Probably utter nonsense given how many more men are chefs and wine connoisseurs, but still - food for thought!

    Try the recipe and let me know how it goes. If the US weren't so stickler about food, Id have mailed you some LKK, but you might find it on the US amazon? Its awesome stuff, I use it everywhere!

    The no-pics is a deliberate experiment to see if the blog stands on the strength of the writing alone. I don't know the answer...what do you think?

  3. I concur with the BBC story; my husband is a man of simple tastes - his favorite food is pizza (though he only eats it after he's gone on a few 7-mile runs that week) and he hates anything green, esp. broccoli. I speak some veggies in with the meat or seafood dishes I cook, but that's about it. We may well have that LKK sauce here, you can certainly find other stuff from that brand at groceries. My favorite place to shop for greens, fruits and anything Asian is this Korean chain called H-Mart near our place that's teeming desis given they carry all sorts of Asian veggies and fruits that other places don't and the bargains aren't too bad either. Do you guys have those in the UK?

  4. haha, thats funny. And scarily reminiscent of Sid. I once made gobi-parathas for him and he lapped them up. And then I stupidly told him what was inside them and he made me swear never to "mislead" him again. There are defi ethnic stores here, but we are pretty lucky in that the basic supermarket has 99pc of the stuff you need - all my masalas, and pickles and lentils, plus all the asian sauces. Very commendable selection. And for produce, I tend to go to Borough and other farmers markets...I love the fruit and veg in the UK - its all super high quality, untampered stuff and you can TASTE the freshness. Which is why its such a pity that Sid wont eat it - he has no clue what he's missing!

  5. I think I'm a bit of a typical desi cheapskate when it comes to produce - the prices at farmers markets here send me into a near dead faint, so I tend to stay away. Although I am a huge fan of places like Trader Joes which have organic produce and all sorts of gourmet foods under their own brand. I know the UK has the whole "cash and carry" concept; haven't been to one, but I think the US equivalent is something like Costco....having grown up in Bangladesh I'm still amazed by the 'super-size' consumer mentality in the US, but this store takes bulk buying to a whole new level!

  6. Be a cheapskate with annnnnnyyyything else, but not food!!!! It's what goes into you! Nothing's more important!!! but what do I know, I'm just an obsessive foodie :)