sweet and sticky five-spice broccoli

this looks like a boring meal, i know, even if you like brocolli like i do.

it just looks like brocolli and rice, and what’s so special about that, right?Β but you know what’s so perfect about this recipe?

the sauce…and how it soaks into the broccoli florets so that when you bite into them, it’s a little like biting into a piece of bread drenched in good oil, except it’s this healthy, dark green, delicious broccoli on steamy rice.Β 

broccoli, chili and garlic

fresh broccoli is just hitting the farmer’s markets now i think, or in a week or two. but it’s available year-round, of course. i started tinkering with this recipe months ago when someone talked about these sticky, dark soy sauce and five-spice chicken wings they had made. they sounded amazing and i wanted to make something similar–maybe with mushrooms or tofu. but all i had on hand was broccoli. it turned out so well that i’ve never bothered to try it with anything else in all the times i’ve made it since. it was good in those colder months back then, and better with the fresher broccoli coming up now.

oh, and it also cooks in about 10 minutes, start to finish. definitely a weeknight-worthy dinner. but i never make it because it’s quick, just because that dark, sticky soy sauce and five-spice combination really is that good.

stir-fried broccoli

broccoli in sweet sticky sauce

sweet and sticky five-spice broccoli

2 tbs dark soy sauce
1 tbs oyster sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp five-spice powder
1 red bird chili, deseeded and deveined, sliced thinly
1 tsp tapioca starch (or corn starch) mixed into 1/4 c water
2 tbs peanut or vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
2 lbs broccoli, large florets cut into medium bite-sized pieces, stems sliced thinly on a bias
kosher salt
1 tbs rice wine

add the soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil five-spice powder and red chili to the tapioca starch mixture. stir the sauce well and set aside.

heat a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. add the oil and allow it to heat, then add the garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds. add all of the broccoli and a light sprinkling of salt and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes, until the broccoli starts to turn a bright green. add the rice wine and cooking for a minute, stirring, until it’s evaporated. add a little water, less than 1/4 cup, cover the broccoli with a lid and allow it to cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. then uncover and push the broccoli to the sides of the wok or pan, creating a hot spot for the sauce. stir the sauce mixture and add it to that spot in the wok and allow it to cook and thicken slightly, stirring, for 15-20 seconds. then mix the broccoli into it, stir and cook for another minute, until the sauce coats the broccoli well. serve over fresh, hot rice.

serves 4.