This tastes less like Golden Garden than I wish it did.

Golden Garden is your average Chinese-American takeout place in my town on Long Island. I am in constant need of an exact replica of their spicy broccoli in garlic sauce, and this recipe is another attempt to imitate it. I more or less lived on that stuff when I was vegetarian, and have very distinct memories of reading the fifth Harry Potter while eating it. Actually I’m not sure why I was ever able to eat it again after that experience. Those emotional wounds have not yet healed.

Anyway, tonight I made spicy broccoli. Recipe courtesy of Macheesmo (excellent blog name), who adapted it from Cook’s Illustrated, which is always a good sign. The produce-scale in my grocery store has been broken for weeks, so I couldn’t weigh my broccoli, and ended up not buying enough. I did try to weigh it by comparing it to a conveniently labeled hunk of kabocha squash, but then I didn’t feel like adding more broccoli to my broccoli bag even though I clearly didn’t have enough. So I approximately two-thirded the recipe in the end.

This is the size of my broccoli-crown pieces. I like very small, soft broccoli bits.

I used the same amount of sauce as the original recipe, though, and would probably double it next time; I want my Chinese sauces to be gloppy and thick and brown and somewhat mysterious. And very spicy.

Things waiting to become sauce

So, this was good. I was happy to eat it and will be happy to continue to do so. (Although, life tip: if you don’t really get around to eating lunch, you might end up eating an enormous amount of broccoli for dinner. Just a note. I don’t have many leftovers.) It is not exactly, exactly what I wanted it to be, but it’s close enough.

The broccoli sat in the pan for a while because I was waiting for the rice to start cooking, but then the rice finished cooking before I started the broccoli, and it was all out of wack.

Oh, and there was way too much sesame oil. I never thought I would say that since sesame oil is one of my favorite things in the world, but I’d use less next time.

Oil, red pepper flakes, and garlic. I like how it looks like the sun is shining on it. It’s not sun. It’s ENHANCE in iPhoto.

Also, you should probably eat something else for dinner in addition to this. For example, ice cream, since ice cream has protein and is therefore part of a balanced meal.

Also also, don’t put two kinds of rice (brown and jasmine, for example) in your rice cooker. You will end up with cooked jasmine rice and crunchy brown rice.

It reduced more after this.


Broccoli in spicy garlic sauce
Pretty much taken directly from Macheesmo. Is that allowed?

~1.5 lb broccoli (I used much less, but I’d make the full amount next time)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Pinch sugar

Garlic oil:
2 tsp vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, diced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or more)

Sauce (these are the proportions given, but it will not turn out very saucy; double if you want more):
1/3 c chicken broth (or vegetable)
1 tbsp rice wine or dry sherry
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil (but this seemed like too much to me—maybe because I didn’t have the full amount of broccoli)
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp chili garlic sauce (I used this, but I think anything similar would be fine) (or add more; this could have been spicier)
1/2 tsp Sriracha (optional, but why not; I can’t tell the difference between any of these sauces)

Start your rice cooking and assemble the two sauces (just mix the ingredients together; be sure to whisk the sauce thoroughly so you don’t get cornstarch clumps).

Prep the broccoli: Separate crowns from stems. Chop the crowns into small pieces (about an inch tall, or thereabouts). Peel the stems THOROUGHLY—go around a few times; mine were still a little woody—and then dice into half-inch pieces or smaller. Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan and add broccoli; keep heat on medium-high. After a few minutes, add the pinch of sugar and continue to stir.

Now, if you like your broccoli tender and soft and delightful, add about a cup of water to the pan and let it cook off; this will sort of steam the broccoli. If you like your broccoli crunchy, don’t do this. Just continue sautéeing it.

After broccoli is cooked almost to your desired doneness, push it to the sides of the pan and add the garlic oil to the center. Cook for thirty seconds or so, then stir it into the broccoli. Add the sauce and stir; let it reduce to your desired thickness (or don’t, because it might all reduce away, which mine kind of did).

I made a very pretty bowl with rice, broccoli, and sesame seeds (probably the real reason it tasted too sesame-y), but then I forgot to take a picture.

Here is Fitzpatrick on the Internet in the bathroom. (I was working in the bathroom because it was too loud in the rest of the apartment. There was construction going on. It wasn’t weird at all.)

2 thoughts on “This tastes less like Golden Garden than I wish it did.

  1. I have only read the first line of this post and already I need to comment. Golden Garden is not average. Golden Garden is the epitome of awesomeness. The food is amazing, the prices are amazing, and watching the kids grow up while I waited for my food over th years was also amazing. That is THREE amazings. Not average.

    • That is possibly true (although apparently it’s gotten bad since we were in high school), BUT I have a feeling most people have similar loyalties to their high school Chinese takeout place! But you’re right. I should not malign it. I NEED THEIR BROCCOLI BUT IT IS FOREVER LOST TO ME.

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