If you are looking for a seriously delicious side dish… look no further! Here’s an Asian-style broccolini (called “Bimi” here in Germany) with toasted sesame seeds that is so simple to make and yet still delivers loads of flavor. The key is the combination of toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar and dry-roasted sesame seeds ground which are ground until the seeds crack open which releases their deliciously fragrant oil and aroma.
An Asian-Style Broccolini recipe that’s also great with other greens
I am willing to bet that you could make this exact recipe using blanched broccoli, green beans or green asparagus. And how about roasted cauliflower? oh yeah! Or if you wait till spring approaches there is this fantastic thing called sprouting broccoli (known as “Spargelkohl” in Germany). With it’s small dark greeny-purple florets, sprouting broccoli sort of resembles broccoli but is darker and leafier. The taste is similar, and its related to the cabbage family… I’m pretty sure it’s Bimi’s German cousin. Bimi is Spanish by the way!
So what is Bimi?
Bimi is actually a “hybrid” vegetable which is a combination of broccoli and “Kai-Lan”, an oriental cabbage. It’s tender, thin long stalks and florets have a mild and delicate flavour – it’s sweeter than standard broccoli and the best thing is you can eat the whole thing — stalks and florets! And this is exactly why I love it! It takes a whole 3 minutes to blanch, or you can toss it in a stir-fry and have a tasty side dish ready in mere minutes.
Where to find Bimi?
If you are in Mallorca or anywhere else in Spain, you can pretty much find Bimi in any major supermarket. In Germany, on the other hand, it’s still pretty new, so not all supermarkets are carrying it. My local supermarket has it from time to time and hopefully in the future more often. You’ll need to keep your eye open for it, as you won’t find it with the regular vegetables, but rather in the cooled section where you might find ready washed salads. Once you do find it, I guarantee you will be hooked!
Asian-Style Broccolini with Sesame
- 1 1/2 tablespoons white and black sesame seeds, toasted (or just white)
- 400 g Broccolini (also known as Bimi)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar (Japanese)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
To prepare the sesame seeds, place the seeds in a dry skillet and toast on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 3-5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow the seeds to cool for a couple minutes, then place them in a small electric grinder or blender and pulse a few times until most of the seeds are cracked open (a mortar and pestle can also be used). The seeds should only be cracked open, and not ground into a flour; the aim is to have some of the texture of the seeds remain.
Now blanch the broccolini in a large pot of salted boiling water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl of ice-cold water. Drain again and pat dry with paper towels (or a clean kitchen towel). Place in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, stir in the olive oil and toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar, garlic, a pinch of red pepper flakes and most of the sesame seeds. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over the broccolini and toss to coat. Transfer to a serving plate; sprinkle with the remaining sesame seeds and drizzle over the fresh lemon juice. Feel free to season with more red pepper flakes, if desired.
Serve and enjoy!
This recipe Asian-Style Bimi-Broccoli is also nice combined with sautéed porcini or oyster mushrooms. And it’s SUPER delicious with almond-sesame smoked tofu (from Taifun – available in organic food stores).
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