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Published February 28, 2012, 11:30 PM

Rock your broccoli: Asian-inspired sauce adds kick to delicious vegetable

I’ve always enjoyed eating broccoli. One of my favorite ways to prepare the green cruciferous vegetable is to steam it until it’s still a little crisp, yet tender enough for a fork to pierce into the stem.

I’ve always enjoyed eating broccoli. One of my favorite ways to prepare the green cruciferous vegetable is to steam it until it’s still a little crisp, yet tender enough for a fork to pierce into the stem.

A drizzle of olive oil, a squirt of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, and the broccoli can miraculously satisfy my taste buds just as powerfully as a chunk of creamy, rich dark chocolate melting on my tongue.

You may find my lust for broccoli hard to believe, especially if a bowl of the light green stalks topped with clusters of purple-tinged dark green florets on your family’s meal table elicits a chorus of groans and grimaces.

Yes, broccoli can easily be overcooked, creating a dark, limp and very smelly vegetable. How could anyone hold back a gag? But when perfectly cooked, it can be addictive.

There are several good reasons to eat broccoli. So, to make it most appealing, don’t overcook the broccoli. To get the most of the beneficial vitamins, don’t overcook the broccoli.

Why eat broccoli? Most importantly, there are many health benefits. Broccoli is a great source of calcium, potassium, folate and fiber. It also contains plant compounds called phytonutrients that may help prevent chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Broccoli is a powerhouse of the antioxidants vitamins A and C that protect your body’s cells from damage.

If you are calorie-conscious, one cup of broccoli contains only 44 calories.

Stir-frying broccoli is another quick way to cook the vegetable. To prepare broccoli, the thick stalks must be cut off. No need to discard the broccoli stalks, though. Peel them and slice them diagonally. Eat them raw like you would a carrot. The raw stalks are great with dips. And, unlike the florets, they won’t leave little green bits in your teeth. You know, those bits that people notice but never mention.

An Asian-inspired sauce comes together in minutes. If you are satisfied with just enough of the brown sauce to glaze the stir-fried broccoli, you’ll be able to store half of it in a sealed jar or bottle in the fridge to use in your next stir-fry meal.

Fresh garlic and ginger add subtle fresh and bright fragrance as well as flavor.

As with any stir-fry dish, it is imperative that you have all ingredients prepared before the cooking begins. The whole process takes just minutes.

After you’ve made one batch of Stir-Fried Broccoli in Ginger-Garlic Sauce, you’ll be able to adjust the sweet and salty flavors of soy sauce and sugar or honey to make it suit your own taste.

Serve Stir-Fried Broccoli in Ginger-Garlic Sauce as a side to any meat. I like it best served over brown jasmine rice.

Now, if you can persuade your broccoli-challenged family to taste Stir-Fried Broccoli in Ginger-Garlic Sauce, you’ll win their taste buds. They’ll be begging for more.

But remember, don’t overcook the broccoli.

Sue Doeden is a food writer and photographer from Bemidji, Minn., and a former Fargo resident. Her columns are published in 10 Forum Communications newspapers.

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