Gai lan (Brassica oleracea var. alboglabra)

Gai lan

Also known as

Chinese broccoli, Kailan, Chinese kale

General information

Botanically, gai lan is more closely related to European cabbage than wombok. It is also closely related to European broccoli. However, in this case the whole plant is eaten - leaves, stem and flowerhead! It is distinguished by its waxy, bluish tinged leaves and white flowers.

Gai lan is thought to have originated in the Mediterranean and is one of the oldest varieties of Brassica cultivated.

Cooking tips

Gai lan tastes a little like head broccoli but it’s crunchy stems and thick leaves give it a flavour all its own. The stems, leaves and flower buds can all be stir fried, steamed or added to soups and casseroles. Thick stems should be cut in half and added before the leaves as they take longer to cook.  One of the most popular ways to cook gai lan is to steam or stir fry with a little chicken stock and serve drizzled with oyster sauce.