Healthy & Delicious: Malaysian Kailan

In keeping up with the guest posts this month, today, I’m hosting a delicious-looking post from Stephanie of Trans-planted. I found Stephanie’s cute blog after she commented on a couple of posts here on Vegan Yack Attack. I checked it out and found tons of cookie recipes and bright photos, plus she’s as sweet as can be. You should definitely check out her blog after getting your eye-full of this healthy, Malaysian stir-fry!

Malaysian Kailan Stirfry

It is such an honor to take part in the awesomeness that is Vegan Yack Attack! You probably already know how amazing and delicious this blog is, which is why it’s one of my favorite places to get inspired to try new vegan foods. You can only imagine how incredibly thrilled I was when Jackie asked me to be a guest on her blog! I am so happy to be able to share with you all a little today.


My husband and I moved to Malaysia almost a year ago. I was born and raised in Orange County, California, so you can imagine what a huge life change it has been living here. Before we made the big move, I became addicted to kale and it’s versatility. I was super disappointed when I couldn’t find any here. But, as the months passed, I became more familiar with Malaysian cuisine and I found a great substitute: kailan AKA: Chinese broccoli! Kailan (芥兰), pronounced kay-lan, comes from the Cantonese language and is the common Malaysian term for Chinese broccoli. If you’re looking for it in an Asian market, it is sometimes written as gai-lan and pronounced guy-lan.


As you can see in the photos, kailan is a dark-green leafy vegetable. The leaves are thick and flat and resemble kale. The stems are like broccoli stems: short and thick. You might be thinking that kailan looks a lot like broccolini. Here’s a fun nerdy veggie fact: broccolini is actually a hybrid between kailan and regular ol’ broccoli!


Like kale, kailan can be cooked in many different ways. The leaves are a tad bitter and are not usually eaten raw. You can either blanch, steam, boil, or stir-fry kailan and add it to your favorite dish. I have not tried making kailan chips yet, but that’s on my to-do list! Most kailan dishes here in Malaysia are not vegan-friendly. It is often served sautéed with oyster sauce or fish sauce. Thankfully my local friend, Sumalang, taught me her favorite vegan way of cooking kailan. I’ve tweaked things just a bit to make it healthier! Sumalang usually adds oil and garnishes the dish with fried garlic. With this recipe, I have left the oil out and replaced the fried garlic with sautéed garlic instead.


The sweetness of the carrots, the slight bitterness of the greens, and the savory mushrooms combine to make a wonderful side dish that can be served alongside any Asian meal.  It’s incredibly simple and fast, perfect for when you’re in a rush and need something healthy. It is a staple dish in my kitchen and I hope you enjoy it!


Healthy & Delicious: Malaysian Kailan

From Vegan Yack Attack | Side Dishes | Asian

The sweetness of the carrots, the slight bitterness of the greens, and the savory mushrooms combine to make a wonderful side dish that can be served alongside any Asian meal.


4 servings


  • 1 lb. washed kailan or Chinese broccoli
  • 1 medium or large carrot, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1 C. thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 3 Garlic Cloves, chopped
  • 2 3 Tbsp. light soy sauce ( or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos for an even healthier choice)


  1. First, prepare your steamer (if you don’t have a steamer, you can boil just the same). While things are heating up, cut off the thick stems from the bottom of the kailan and slice into pieces of about 1-inch. Cut the remaining thinner stems and leaves into bite-size pieces. If your kailan is flowering with little buds, don’t worry, they’re edible! Just cut them up along with everything else!
  2. Because the stems are much thicker than the rest of the plant, you’ll need to cook them first for 2-3 minutes before you add the leaves. Start cooking the stems and thinly sliced carrots together. After the carrots and stems have steamed for a few minutes, add the remaining leaves. Leave everything covered for about five minutes or until everything is tender to your liking. Once the vegetables are tender, remove them from the steamer and set aside.
  3. In a small skillet, sauté garlic and mushrooms for 2-3 minutes in soy sauce until the mushrooms are cooked and most of the liquid is gone.
  4. In a large bowl or serving dish, toss all the veggies together with the mushrooms and garlic. Taste and add a teaspoon or two of soy sauce if more salt is needed. Serve warm and enjoy!


  • The serving size is used as if the recipe was a side.

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11 Comments on “Healthy & Delicious: Malaysian Kailan

  1. how gorgeous is this dish. the greens and the mushrooms and pretty photography! i havent been visiting Stephanie’s blog enough, which will change now!

    • Right? I was so excited when I found it that it made me a little sad that I hadn’t read it sooner! Thanks for stopping by, Richa! 🙂

  2. Thanks Jackie! And thanks Richa! You guys are the best and you seriously made my day! Thank you for your kind words! It’s such an honor to be featured, Jackie! Thank you again, so much! 🙂

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