Garlic Sauce Is The Secret For Chinese Food Takeout-Style Broccoli

Even adults don't enjoy eating their vegetables sometimes. The high water content in some veggies renders them a bit bland on their own, so many people would prefer to make them palatable by adding various ingredients. If you're not a broccoli person but have found that you enjoy crunching on them at a Chinese restaurant, let this be your gateway into learning how to replicate the dish's umami-rich garlic sauce. It's simple enough to recreate and will give you a reason to transform more of your cooked vegetables into a savory, takeout-style side.

Of course, American Chinese food is, as the term suggests, Americanized. Many restaurants likely replace certain ingredients in traditional dishes with ones that are easier to access; they may also tone down spice levels to cater to American tastes. Authentic garlic sauce in Sichuan cuisine is known as yuxiang, which is a combination of soy sauce, garlic, scallions, and a special soybean-infused chili oil. It's typically made for Chinese stir-fry and packs plenty of heat into each bite.

Ingredients for takeout-style garlic sauce are easy to blend

You might want to give yuxiang some side eye after learning its name translates to "fish-fragrant." However, this Chinese sauce wasn't given its name because the recipe contains fish but because it's often included in many fish-based dishes to mask intense flavors. Besides heaps of garlic, this condiment also calls for sesame oil, ginger, dark soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, chicken or vegetable stock, sliced scallions, and cornstarch to thicken. Home chefs who really want to elevate their broccoli stir-fry can grab a bottle of amber-colored Shaoxing wine, a key ingredient in Chinese cooking. 

The longer the veggies simmer in the mixture, the softer and more flavorful they'll be, and your saucy broccoli will soon reach a similar texture to what you'd order from a Chinese food takeout menu. If your taste buds decide the sweet, savory, and tangy concoction needs a hint of spice, adding homemade chili crisp to the garlic sauce is a great option for achieving a more complex taste. To adjust the spice levels, simply reduce the ingredients according to a 1:1 portion and add a sprinkling of sugar to counteract the heat. For those who like more variety in their sizzling stir-fry recipes, this sauce doesn't have to be reserved just for broccoli. Feel free to make it along with shredded pork, chicken, or beef stir-fry, with a variety of other vegetables tossed in for a dose of Chinese-inspired flavors.