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Chinese Broccoli with Black Bean Sauce
A traditional dish that's become a Chinese restaurant staple

1 tablespoon fermented black beans
2 pounds Chinese broccoli, separated into stalks
3 tablespoons peanut oil
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
quarter-size slices fresh ginger, chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon cornstarch

1. Cover the black beans with warm water. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Plunge the Chinese broccoli, leaves included, into a large pot of salted boiling water. Cook for 1 minute. Refresh under cold water, and dry on paper towels.
3. Place the peanut oil in a large wok over very high heat. Drain the black beans and smash them with a heavy cleaver. Toss them into the hot wok, along with the garlic and ginger. Stir-fry for 15 seconds. Add the broccoli, and stir to coat broccoli with oil and seasonings. Add the sugar and chicken stock. Stir, cover, and cook over high heat until broccoli is just done, about 2 minutes (it should still be crunchy).
4. Mix the cornstarch in a small bowl with a small amount of water (about 3 tablespoons) to make a liquid that resembles heavy cream. Make sure the chicken stock is boiling in the wok, then add the cornstarch mixture to it. Stir vigorously, place Chinese broccoli on a platter, and serve immediately.

Serves 6 to 8 as part of a Chinese meal