Scientific Name: – Brassica oleracea var. alboglabra
Kai-lan (also written as gai-lan) is the Cantonese name for a vegetable that is also known as Chinese broccoli. It is a leaf vegetable featuring thick, flat, glossy blue-green leaves with thick stems and a small number of tiny, almost vestigial flower heads similar to those of broccoli. Broccoli and kai-lan belong to the same species Brassica oleracea, but kai-lan is in the group alboglabra [Latin albus+glabrus white and hairless]. Its flavor is very similar to that of broccoli, but slightly more bitter. It is also noticeably stronger. Broccolini is a hybrid between broccoli and kai-lan, produced by Mann Packing Company, Inc. Kai-lan is eaten widely in Chinese cuisine, and especially in Cantonese cuisine. Common preparations include kai-lan stir-fried with ginger and garlic, and boiled or steamed and served with oyster sauce. It is also common in Vietnamese cuisine, Myanmar and Thai cuisine. Kai-lan can be sown in late summer for early-winter harvesting. Seedlings planted in autumn will last all winter.