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Oyster Sauce Vegetables in Garlic Oil

Oyster Sauce in Garlic Oil
Baby Bok Choy in Oyster Sauce and Garlic Oil 油菜

I’m currently making an effort to incorporate more greens into my diet and hence for the past few months, I’ve been cooking more vegetable dishes. A delicious plate of nicely cooked vegetables is so satisfying to have in a home cooked meal! The good thing about blanching vegetables is that they usually cook really quickly (if you cook too long, they lose their nutrients, colour and crunch) – just like this plate of oyster sauce vegetables where the baby bok choy have been blanched in boiling water for less than 30 seconds.

Garlic Oil and Oyster Sauce
Garlic Oil (front) and Oyster Sauce Mixture

I usually prepare the oyster sauce mixture and garlic oil in advance. Just before mealtime, I boil a pot of water and blanch the vegetables for a short moment (ranging from 30 seconds to 1 minute; depending on the choice of vegetables), assemble the vegetables on a plate and drizzle the oyster sauce mixture and garlic oil over the vegetables. It taste so much better when the vegetables are served immediately after cooking – they taste so crunchy and fresh.

When it comes to oyster sauce vegetables, it’s not just about slapping oyster sauce over the veggies; the sauce straight from the bottle is really thick and salty. The oyster sauce is usually diluted with some hot water and sugar is added to balance the saltiness.

(Serves 4)

(A) Garlic Oil
– 3 tbsp vegetable oil
– 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped

(B) Oyster Sauce Mixture
– 1 tbsp oyster sauce
– 1 tbsp hot water
– 1/2 tsp sugar

(C) Vegetables
– 400 grams of Asian greens, I use either
– baby boy choy (xiao bai cai, 小白菜) OR
– baby kailan (Chinese broccoli, 小芥兰)

You can also make 1 plate of each type of vegetables (200g each) to impress your diners as the sauce is enough for two plates of vegetables.


(A) Garlic Oil
1. Heat up vegetable oil in a wok. When the temperature is hot enough (add a tiny piece of chopped garlic into the oil to test – if it starts to sizzle gently, the oil is ready), add the chopped garlic and using a spatula, distribute the garlic evenly so that they are fully coated in the oil.
2) Let the garlic cook in the oil, and turn off the flame once the garlic starts to turn light* golden brown.
3) Pour the garlic and oil in a small bowl. The garlic will continue to cook for a little longer in the bowl of hot oil until it turns a lovely golden brown.

* Cooking Note: You need to turn off the flame once it turns light golden brown. If you turn off the flame when the garlic turned a “just right” golden brown, they will cook further in the hot oil and become burnt/dark brown.

(B) Oyster Sauce Mixture
1. In a small bowl, stir using a spoon, all the ingredients in (B) till well mixed.

(C) Vegetables – Baby Boy Choy
1. Heat a large pot of water with 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil added.
2. When the water is boiling, add baby boy choy and blanch for approximately 30 seconds. If this is your first time blanching vegetables, they may not look like they are cooked to you).
3. Optional: Trim the ends of the blanched baby boy choy and then cut them to approximately 3 sections lengthwise (see first photo) so that they are easier to eat. Assemble on a serving plate and drizzle (A) garlic oil and (B) oyster sauce mixture over the vegetables.

(C) Vegetables – Baby Kailan
4. If you’re using baby kailan instead, trim the ends of each baby kailan and separate them to individual leaves. Blanch the vegetables like in steps C2 above (if you like, you can add 1 tsp of sugar to the boiling water since kailan is slightly bitter). Note that kailan will take a slightly longer time than baby bok choy (around 1 to 1 1/2 minutes). Assemble the vegetables on a serving plate and drizzle (A) garlic oil and (B) oyster sauce mixture over the vegetables.

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