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Chinese Broccoli with sesame oil drizzle

This week has been an emotional rollercoaster at work. On one hand, I’m learning so many new things about infectious diseases in children everyday, and it’s been truly a humbling experience to be burdened with so much responsibility and autonomy as a student. For the first time, I am expected to actually make sensible management plans for my patients and have ownership of them. On the other hand, this week I had my first patient who passed away. I only met him once. He was 24 weeks old and has not lived to see the world outside the hospital yet before his prematurity took his life. And the most outrageous thing is, this could have all been prevented if his mother had better prenatal care and taken medication for a very preventable but deadly disease that spread to her baby. I never met the mother, but I can’t help to think that placing the blame solely on her is only part of the story.

Every day, many young pregnant moms skip their prenatal visits because of lack of education of their importance. Especially for teen moms coming from an underserved community, or recent immigrants unfamiliar with the healthcare system in the States, they simply do not visit an obstetrician until couple of weeks before their due date. Lack of access to free clinics, lack of awareness, little education about the necessary steps during pregnancy all contribute to the tragedy. At the end, it’s the premature babies who don’t have a voice that suffer. Despite the stern reality, little motivation exists to bring prenatal care to this at-risk population because of funding issues and lack of personnel. I do know of Legacy Community Health Center in Houston who do a fantastic job at reaching the underserved and providing prenatal care to the needed. We need more clinics like this, and more individuals passionate about this issue to spearhead the efforts.

So…on a lighter note, I made another trip to Chinatown groceries after volunteering at the chinatown clinic last weekend. I was craving refreshing Chinese veggies after a week of munching on dry broccoli and celery, so I grabbed some Gai Lan, or Chinese broccoli. It’s a popular dish in Canton, southern China, where every vegetable is cooked by blanching or boiling in water, then drizzled with hoisin sauce. It’s the ultimate healthy meal, and if every American can eat vegetables like this, coronary artery disease would be non-existent.

Okay, I exaggerate. But at least this dish is low salt and low oil, which is never a bad choice. And the best thing is, it brings out the delicious leafy flavor of the plant itself! (the rabbit in me speaking) So last weekend I made Gai Lan, but instead of soaking it in hoisin sauce which is overly salty, I made a sesame oil drizzle that is lighter yet more fragrant. So here it is: your weeknight veggie fix under 15 minutes!

* Chinese broccoli can be found in any Asian grocery

Gai Lan

Chinese Broccoli with Sesame Oil Drizzle

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • Chinese broccoli (Gai Lan), 1 bunch
  • sesame oil, 1 Tbsp
  • soy sauce, 1 Tbsp
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • brown sugar, 1 tbsp
  • 1 pinch of salt

Boil water in a pot. When water is boiling, put Chinese broccoli into the pot and blanch for 2 minutes.

While the broccoli is blanching, combine sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, sugar and salt to make the drizzle.

Arrange broccoli on a plate and drizzle sauce over. Enjoy!



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