Sesame Tenderstem Broccoli is a brilliant side dish that can be thrown together in minutes with very few ingredients. Tenderstem (or broccolini) is one of my go-to greens and I love coming up with new ways to serve it!
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I am a big fan of simply steaming some green veg to accompany my favourite Asian style rice dishes. My Sweet Chilli Salmon with Sticky Rice is one of my favourites. But sometimes I like to gussy it up just a little.
With the help of a couple of flavoured oils and a combo frying/steaming method, I can make a super tasty broccolini side dish. Yes I said broccolini. Thats what they call tenderstem broccoli in the US. And to be honest, I think its a much better name than what us Brits are lumped with.
The pan frying with water method is a great way to allow the broccoli stems to cook through without the more tender heads catching and burning. Once the water has evaporated, the frying and charring can begin in a controlled way.
This method is handy to use with other veg like kale or chard too.
How to Serve Sesame Tenderstem Broccoli
My Sesame Broccolini is an ideal side to serve with rice based dishes like my Korean Pork & Sticky Rice and other Asian inspired dishes like my Satay Chicken Skewers and Sweet Chilli Chicken Thighs. To amp up the veg elements, I also like to use my Satay Sauce recipe to make some fab Satay Sprouts.
It also makes a great modern addition to my nostalgic Sweet and Sour Chicken.
Make Sesame Tenderstem Broccoli into a Feast
I truly believe that you can make any dish into a proper feast! Whether thats a feast for one after work on a Tuesday, a casual feast for four on a Friday evening or a feast for 12 for a special occasion!
I’ve included this recipe in no less than four of my Asian Inspired Feast Collections!
First up is my Big Asian Feast which starts with a selection of dumplings including Har Gow and Tofu Crystal Dumplings along with Miso Soup. There follows a selection of fabulous dishes to share including Korean Belly Pork, Teriyaki Tofu and Sweet Chilli Salmon.
Don’t forget to head over to the Big Asian Feast post for all of my tips and tricks to help you host a fun and stress-free feast. Plus remember to check out my other feast collections and all my Asian inspired recipes.
Ingredients for Sesame Tenderstem Broccoli
Tenderstem Broccoli didn’t really exist until 1996 when it first went on sale in the US. Who knew. But it is now widely available and in my opinion, must tastier and more versatile than regular broccoli.
You could substitute normal broccoli here but you will want to slice the florets into relatively small pieces first.
You can buy garlic oil ready prepared or make your own by infusing raw garlic cloves in a flavourless oil. I would not use garlic olive oil here as the flavour is too strong.
An alternative would be to use a regular flavourless oil and 1 tsp Garlic Salt in place of each 2 tsp garlic oil.
You can find more of my favourite recipes using garlic in my collection of The Best Garlic Recipes.
Another flavoured oil which is better bought ready prepared. Try to buy the pure oil rather than a blended variety.
The key to using sesame oil is to never use is as a cooking oil. Consider it a seasoning to be used at the end of cooking and you can’t go wrong.
The cooking technique and flavourings can be applied to any number of vegetables from kale to spring greens, savoy cabbage or even asparagus.
If you prefer a spicier dish then dried or fresh chilli flakes can be added. If you are not a fan of garlic, that can be left out.
To find out about more of my favourite Asian Ingredients, check out my guide to the Top 16 Asian Ingredients which I always keep stocked in my pantry.
I’ve also suggested a whole bunch of recipes to try once your cupboard is fully stocked!
Make it Vegetarian or Vegan
This sesame broccoli dish is suitable for both vegetarian and vegan diets.
Make it Allergy Friendly
This recipe is free from nuts, dairy and egg.
Gluten Free: Ensure that a gluten free soy sauce like tamari. There are no other gluten containing ingredients.
Nut Free: Some nut allergies can be linked to sesame allergies. It is therefore a good idea to double check with the person with an allergy to see if sesame is an issue. If so, use additional garlic oil in place of the sesame and don’t add the sesame seeds.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
Equipment Notes for Sesame Tenderstem Broccoli
A large frying pan is essential to ensure that the water has enough room to evaporate after the steaming has finished. A little steaming is great but boiling is not ideal.
A comprehensive list of the equipment used to make this recipe is included in the main recipe card below. Click on any item to see an example. There are no hard and fast rules so many items can be sensibly substituted to achieve the same results.
The sesame tenderstem can be prepared in advance and reheated. It can be steamed and then left in the pan to finish frying just before serving. And it could be cooked then frozen.
But ideally, you will cook the broccoli just before serving. Its a 10 minute dish so I rarely have any issue in doing this, even if everything else was pre-prepared.
Leftover Sesame Tenderstem Broccoli
It is possible to freeze any leftovers but as it is quite easy to cook single portions of the sesame broccoli. So I mostly don’t end up with any unless it is my intention.
Leftovers will reheat. I quite often portion up leftovers into my microwave steamer plate. The extra steam keeps things nice and juicy. They can also be reheated in a pan.
Sesame Tenderstem Broccoli Tips
Keep a close eye on proceedings, especially during the latter frying stage. The broccolini heads can catch quite quickly.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
Still Have Questions?
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More Vegan Side Dishes
More Garlic Recipes
For more great recipes featuring garlic, check out my post featuring the Best Garlic Recipes from top food bloggers and this site.
You’ll find everything from soups, breads, dips, salads, pastas, seafood dishes, vegetable sides and meaty meals.
Sesame Tenderstem Broccoli
- 100 g Tenderstem Broccoli (Broccolini)
- 2 tsp Garlic Oil
- 1 tsp Sesame Oil
- 1 tsp Light Soy Sauce
- 1 tsp Sesame Seeds
- Trim any rough ends off 100g Tenderstem Broccoli and set aside.
- Heat 2 tsp Garlic Oil in a large lidded frying pan and add the broccoli along with 4 tbsp Water.
- Pop a lid on the pan and leave to steam for 3 minutes. Leave to steam for a little longer if the stems are especially chunky.
- Remove the lid and move the broccoli around the pan until all the water has dissolved and the broccoli is wilted and tender.
- Add 1 tsp Sesame Oil, 1 tsp Light Soy Sauce and 1 tsp Sesame Seeds. Toss through the broccoli to combine.
- Serve hot.