When it comes to stovetop broccoli, your options extend beyond the boil-in-a-bag nightmares of your youth. Use a frying pan to extend the culinary possibilities of this vegetable. Broccoli takes well to stir-frying, especially when paired with Asian-style sauces and flavorings. Alternatively, batter and fry up the formerly boring green to transform it into a crunchy, puffed-up treat.
Things You'll Need
- Paper towels
- Heavy-bottomed, large frying pan or deep fat fryer
- Vegetable or peanut oil
- Oil thermometer
- Slotted metal spoon or spatula
- All-purpose flour
- Beer, milk or club soda (optional)
- Large plate or platter
- Chicken stock (optional)
- Sesame oil
- Soy sauce or oyster sauce
- Wooden spoon or wok shovel
Deep-Fried Broccoli Florets
Cut a head of broccoli into florets, reserving the stalks for another use. Rinse the florets and pat them dry with paper towels.
Pour the oil into your pan to a depth of about 1 1/2 inches. Turn the burner to high and insert an oil thermometer. Or, turn on an electric deep-fat fryer and set the temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mix equal parts flour and water together in a bowl. You can use milk, beer or club soda instead of water and you can also add a small amount of salt and herbs or seasonings, if you wish. The consistency should be slightly thinner than pancake batter. Add more liquid or flour if it is either too thick or too liquid.
Dip the broccoli pieces into the batter when the oil reaches 375 F.
Put the first batch of battered broccoli pieces into the hot oil, taking care not to overcrowd the pan. Set a platter lined with paper towels next to where you're frying.
Remove the fried broccoli after about 3 minutes, or when the pieces are golden-brown and puffy. Set them on the towel-lined platter to drain. Repeat with the remaining broccoli florets until all of the pieces have been battered and fried.
Savory Broccoli Stir-Fry
Cut a head of broccoli into florets and stalks. Peel the stalks, then slice them on the diagonal, into disks about 1/4 inch thick. Keep smaller florets intact, and slice larger ones lengthwise into pieces that are about 1 inch wide.
Rinse the florets and stalk pieces and pat them dry with paper towels.
Blend together 1 part cornstarch, 2 parts water or chicken stock, 3 parts sesame oil and 4 parts soy or oyster sauce. You will not need more than a few tablespoons of this sauce.
Pour enough oil into the pan to coat the surface, and turn the burner to high.
Add minced garlic and finely chopped onions into the pan and stir them vigorously over the surface of the pot briefly, then add the broccoli pieces. Stir-fry the broccoli for about 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are slightly tender. Add a few teaspoons of water if the pieces stick to the pan and then scrape the pieces off with the spoon.
Drizzle a few tablespoons of the sauce over the broccoli pieces and stir well. Remove the pan from the heat once the sauce thickens and the broccoli pieces are evenly coated. Spoon the stir-fried broccoli into a bowl or platter, and serve.
Tips & Warnings
- A deep-sided, heavy frying pan will serve to either deep-fry or stir-fry broccoli. Otherwise, use a large, sturdy stock pot or deep fryer for the frying, or a wok for the stir-frying.
- Wear long-sleeves when working with hot oil, and don't lean over the pan. Keep children away from the stove when cooking. Always stay in the kitchen when you have oil heating.
- Photo Credit larryhw/iStock/Getty Images
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