Learn how to make Chinese restaurant-style garlic broccoli stir-fry at home. The broccoli comes out very crisp and is coated in an easy garlic sauce. This is my favorite way to eat broccoli!
I know this dish may look a little basic (my husband asked me “why are you photographing a plate of broccoli?”), but it is one of my favorite dishes.
I’ve always been obsessed with figuring out how to cook Chinese restaurant-style dishes because they are quite different from the home-cooking style (aka healthier) Chinese food I grew up eating. Stir Fry Garlic Broccoli is one of my favorite dishes to order when eating out. The broccoli is a beautiful bright green, incredibly crunchy, and coated in garlic sauce.
There are a few different techniques Chinese restaurants use to achieve this.
The broccoli is usually blanched before cooking. Blanching means the broccoli is briefly cooked in hot water and then immediately removed and placed into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. This pre-cook method helps preserve the bright green color and it also allows the broccoli to cook faster, which keeps the broccoli crunchy.
Restaurant stir fries usually have a thick clear sauce. This is created by using cornstarch to thicken the sauce. By thickening the sauce, it sticks to the broccoli better, ensuring every floret is covered in garlic sauce.
The garlic sauce is very simple. Garlic is so flavorful on its own that it really doesn’t need much help. I added a little bit of salt, chicken broth, and white pepper.
White pepper is recommended over black pepper. For me, black pepper overpowers this simple dish whereas the milder, less complex notes of white pepper enhance the flavors of the dish. If you’ve ever noticed a distinct flavor in a lot of stir fry and other Asian dishes, it’s most likely white pepper you’re tasting.
The best way to cook stir-fry is with a large wok and over high heat. A wok is designed for the stir fry technique. Its unique curved shape allows you to easily maneuver your ingredients, tossing and turning them and letting them quickly cook. Combine the wok with high heat, and your broccoli will be fully cooked before it loses its crispness. I currently cook with my stainless steel OXO Stainless Steel Wok (affiliate link*). I’ve had it for several years and love it. It’s easy to use and clean.
Garlic Broccoli Stir-Fry
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 4 large garlic cloves minced
- 12 oz broccoli florets
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- salt to taste
- pinch of white pepper
- 1 tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp water
- Bring a large pot of water to boil and add in broccoli. As soon as the broccoli is completely covered in water, drain from water and place into ice bath to stop the cooking process.
- Add garlic and oil to wok and cook on high heat until garlic starts to brown.
- Add in the broccoli. Stir and cook until broccoli is halfway done.
- Add in the chicken broth so that there is more liquid in your wok to prevent the broccoli from burning. Season with salt and pepper. When broccoli is just cooked, add in the cornstarch and water to thicken sauce (completely dissolve cornstarch into the water before adding it, otherwise the cornstarch will clump up). The stir fry time should only take a few minutes, so you do need to work quickly or your broccoli will overcook and turn soft. Remove from heat and enjoy.
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
*Some of the product links contained in this post are affiliate links. Much like referral codes, this means I earn a small commission if you purchase a product I referred (at no extra charge to you).