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Recipe #1: Broccoli in garlic sauce

American-Chinese takeout style

From the W1555 Neighbourhood letter of June 2022, by Pascal


• 1 medium-large crown of broccoli

• 3-4 garlic cloves

• 1 small thumb of ginger (about the same amount as the garlic)

• 1/2 small fresh chili (or throw the whole thing in)

• 1 cup water or stock or reserved broccoli water (see below)

• 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

• 1/4 cup (60mL) soy sauce

• 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar (or honey)

• 2 teaspoons mustard

• 2-3 tablespoons of Marmite (or oyster sauce), I didn’t have Marmite so I left it out. :)

• 1-2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

• 2-3 tablespoons corn-starch

• salt and pepper

• cooking oil

• sesame seeds for garnish (very optional)

• 1 cup (200g) white rice (dry) Preparation:

• Cook the rice however you prefer it :)

• While you’re getting the rice going, peel and chop the garlic and ginger with the chili. Get a pot with a shallow layer of water going.

• Cut the broccoli into bite-sized florets. When the water is boiling, throw in all the broccoli, cover, and get a big bowl of ice water ready. Boil the broccoli just not until al dente, take it out and immediately put the broccoli in cold water. Stir until the pieces have all cooled down. If you want you can use the cooking water for the sauce.

• Once the pot is empty and dry, return it to the burner and put your heat on medium. Coat the pan with a thin film of oil (NOT the sesame oil), throw in the garlic, ginger and chili, stir

and fry for a couple minutes until soft.

• Put in the cup of water (or stock or reserved broccoli water), soy sauce, sugar, mustard, (Marmite), sesame oil, onion powder and a few grinds of pepper. While that’s simmering, dissolve the cornstarch in just enough water to make a thick slurry. While one hand stirs, use the other hand to drizzle in slurry until you get a very thick consistency — you might not need all of it. Taste the sauce and adjust it to your liking, perhaps adding more of any of the listed ingredients.

• Remember that the broccoli and rice are totally unseasoned, so the sauce needs to be strong enough and salty enough to flavor both itself and the broccoli and rice, that is to say too strong on its own. The texture should be very thick, because the broccoli will water it down a little. The sauce is easy to burn when it’s this thick. Pull the broccoli out of the cold water, drain it thoroughly and toss it in the sauce until warm and coated. You can stir in water if the sauce is too thick. Dish out the rice, and optionally garnish with sesame seeds.

Bon appetit!

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