Stir-fried Broccoli in black bean sauce

This is another Chinese-style way to cook broccoli.  It uses fermented black beans, which should be purchased at an oriental grocery store (you should buy the YangJiang brand).  The recipe is from “The Key to Chinese Cooking” by Irene Kuo (Knopf, 1980).

1 bunch broccoli, about 2 pounds
1 heaping TBS fermented black beans
1 or 2 large cloves garlic, coarsely choppped
2 quarter-size slices of fresh ginger, coarsely chopped
3 TBS oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock or water
1 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 3 TBS water
1 tsp toasted sesame oil (optional)

Chop broccoli into bite-size pieces.

Rinse fermented black beans briefly in water and shake dry in a colander, then chop them coarsely.  Prepare and measure out other ingredients.

Heat a wok or large, heavy skillet over high heat until hot; add the oil, swirl, and heat for 30 seconds.  Splash in the black beans, garlic, and ginger and stir briskly for 15 seconds.  Add the broccoli and stir and flip for 5 seconds.  Lower the heat to medium and continue to stir in fast turning motions until the green color deepens.  Add the salt, sugar, then the stock or water; cover and steam-cook sizzlingly for 2 1/2 minutes.

Uncover, stir a few times, restir the cornstarch mixture and add over the broccoli, tossing until the sauce thickens.  Pour into a hot serving dish and serve immediately – it is good only when piping hot.

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