You’ve probably enjoyed broccoli in a plate of pasta or in a dish at your favourite Asian restaurant. You might have even come across it at a supermarket, but hesitated to take it home because you had no clue about how to cook it. Well, that ends today. Here’s all you need to know about cooking the cauliflower’s sexier-looking cousin!
Buying broccoli: While buying broccoli, make sure to avoid any with yellow spots. This is a sign that it is an aged broccoli. Other signs include loose or tender florets of broccoli. The florets should be firm and tightly bound with each other.
Prepping broccoli: Once you take home this super-nutritious veggie, time to prep it. Cut off any leaves from the bottom. Turn the broccoli upside down and you can easily cut off florets by following the natural pattern of the stems/stalks. You can further cut the florets into smaller pieces, depending on the size you want. Now that you’ve successfully cut the broccoli, rinse it in water a couple of times. Then soak it in a bowl of water for a few minutes, so that any other dirt and other particles will sink to the bottom. You can then take out the broccoli, and it’s ready to cook.
Cooking broccoli: You first need to bring a pot of water to a boil. How much water? At least enough water to cover the broccoli pieces fully. Add salt generously, along with a few pinches of sugar. The sugar helps to retain the bright green colour. Add your beautifully cut broccoli and allow it to boil for 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, you can get a bowl of cold water ready. If you have ice cubes, do use them in the water for the best results. Take out the broccoli from the boiling water and immerse it into the cold water. This retains the crunchiness and prevents the broccoli from getting soggy. Once it has cooled down, you can strain off the water and use the broccoli in stir-fries, noodles, pasta or even eat it as it is, in salads. You can also store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days (make sure the water is completely drained off).
This method of half-boiling vegetables is called ‘blanching’. There, now you’ve also learnt a new cooking term, in addition to learning how to cook broccoli.
One of my favourite (and easiest!) ways to cook broccoli is to get a pan smoking hot, then add some oil and the broccoli. Toss it for a minute, and then add some minced garlic, red chilli flakes, salt, and soy sauce. Toss it for just a minute longer, and a super healthy & delicious side dish is ready.
So go ahead, pick up that broccoli at the vegetable store the next time. You don’t have to be intimidated by this nutrition-packed super vegetable anymore!