A leafy relative of the European broccoli, with less-pronounced heads that form little white flowers, Kai-lan (Gai-lan) or Chinese broccoli is also known as Chinese Kale is high in calcium, vitamin C and B1, iron, and niacin. All parts of this vegetable are edible when in the early flowering stages. Varieties that are harvested at a later stage have thick stems which must be peeled before cooking. Kai-lan is available all year round. Although it can be used the same way as Western broccoli in soups and stir-fries, the classic way to prepare the Chinese variation of the vegetable is to leave it whole, steam or par-boil it, and then serve it with a dressing of oyster sauce. The flowers on the stems of this leafy vegetable make it more perishable than other leafy vegetables. It is best stored in a plastic bag, in the coldest part of the fridge, for not more than 3-4 days.
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