Steamed Broccoli – The Woks of Life

Oleh : BoyaQQ

If you have a good steamed broccoli recipe in your arsenal, you may find yourself making it every week! This recipe fits the bill. While the broccolis steaming, all just whip up a tasty sauce to drizzle over the top. Your side dish is done in 10 minutes!

Broccoli is a dependable vegetable that’s always available, healthy, and easy to prepare. Plus, it goes with just about everything.

If you think you don’t like broccoli because you grew up with it as a tasteless, soggy concoction microwaved in a bag or overcooked on the stove, give this recipe a try and let’s see if we can change your mind! 

Steamed Broccoli on Chinese plate

Why Steam Broccoli

Steaming broccoli ensures that the most possible nutrients are retained in the vegetable—more so than microwaving, boiling, or stir-frying. 

Steaming for the right amount of time ensures that the broccoli maintains its vibrant green color, and that it stays crisp-tender. 

Plus, once you’ve got the technique down, it’s also one of the easiest ways to cook broccoli. 

broccoli in colander

Ways to Steam Vegetables

You have several options for steaming.

Basically, you’re trying to create an environment that has boiling water at the bottom to create steam. The food should be set on top of the boiling water—but not touching it. There should also be enough clearance for the steam to circulate around it. 

Here are 5 ways to achieve this:

  1. Bamboo Steamer: If you have a bamboo steamer, you can lay the broccoli directly in the basket, or on perforated parchment paper, damp cheesecloth, or even a shallow dish, as long as it fits in the basket and there’s enough clearance around the dish for the steam to circulate. See our article on how to use a bamboo steamer for more details.
  2. Metal Steamer: A metal steamer works much the same way as a bamboo steamer. It has multiple levels and gaps/holes that allow the steam to rise up and around the food. They’re a bit more convenient and easy to clean, but unlike bamboo steamers, condensation does form inside them. (This can be a problem for buns/dumplings that don’t take well to moisture dripping on them as they cook.) Luckily, that isn’t an issue with steaming broccoli, so if you have a metal steamer, use it! 
  3. Wok with steaming rack: If you have a wok with a lid and a small metal steaming rack (usually 2 to 3 inches tall), you can place a heatproof dish (such as a glass pie plate or baking dish) of broccoli on the rack, set it on the rack over the simmering water, cover, and steam away! 
  4. With a steamer basket: You can buy a metal folding steamer basket (the one that opens up like a flower into a round basket, with little feet or legs on the bottom), and place the broccoli in that to steam in a lidded pot, with just about 1 inch of water below it. As in any of these methods, the water should not touch the bottom of the rack. 
  5. No special equipment (any pot with a lid and an empty tuna can): You can create a similar set-up without any special equipment. Simply a wide pot with a lid, and something to set the dish of broccoli on. An empty tuna can works well. 

Read more about these steaming methods in our article on how to steam food. 

That’s about all you need to know for this steamed broccoli recipe. Once you learn this steaming method, it will unlock so many of our other recipes! 

Check out our wide variety of steaming recipes for more possibilities!

Steamed Broccoli Recipe Instructions

Using one of our suggested steaming methods (bamboo or metal steamer, wok with steaming rack, a metal steaming basket, or our no-equipment method), bring water to a boil, place the broccoli into the steamer set-up, and cover. 

(In our case, we placed a bamboo steamer into our metal steamer!)

Broccoli florets in bamboo steamer basket

Steam over medium heat for 4 minutes (for crunchier broccoli) to 7 minutes (for more tender broccoli), until the broccoli is still bright green but cooked to your liking. Cooking time will also depend on the size of your broccoli florets—less time for smaller florets, and more time for larger ones.

steamed broccoli in bamboo steamer

Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a small saucepan or frying pan over medium heat, add the oil and garlic. Cook for 30 seconds, or until the garlic softens (there should be barely any browning—in the photo below, I actually let this go a bit too long!).

cooking garlic in small pan

Add the water, oyster sauce, light soy sauce, sesame oil, and pepper. Stir the ingredients together, and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, turn off the heat. 

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