“There you could always go into the ...museum, and all the paintings were heightened and clearer and more beautiful if you were belly-empty, hollow-hungry. I learned to understand Cezanne much better and to see truly how he made landscapes when I was hungry.”  -Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast -


If you appreciate broccoli like a Cezanne painting, this recipe is for you. If you don't appreciate broccoli, this recipe is for you.

This sesame oil-ized broccoli will hopefully be, forgive me Hemingway, a moveable feast. You won’t have to worry about stinking up the lunchroom at the office. Will it satisfy your “belly-empty” and make the world more beautiful? I don’t know. But these nutritious, buddy, verdant stalks of healthfulness make a great side dish (banchan.) that you can debut outside of your home.

Is it a head-turner? No. But is it pop culture? Sure. President Barack Obama claimed that he enjoyed broccoli thoroughly as a child. I knew of a hippie friend who walked down the aisle with a twine-wrapped head of broccoli. New York Times Magazine used a head of broccoli as its covergirl in 2013. Props to Horacio Salinas, photographer of the shoot, for being adamant about not inserting anything extraneous or trendy for his shoot.

We should never be bored with broccoli because our bodies will never be bored of it. Having gone through so much digestive distress in my 20s, I know a few tidbits about foods good for digestion. Trust me. You need broccoli in your life. If you’re truly devoted, check out the annual Broccoli City Festival MTV Production Assistant Brandon McEachern spearheads.

p.s. Lucky Peach (rest in peace) used to have a fun guide to ‘barbarian’ vegetables from China, one being broccoli. Who proposed that broccoli was barbaric? Off with their heads.


Above is the broccoli I brought for lunch. Look at them on the foam, plastic table, waiting to be crunched on, ready for their debut.


prep time: 2 minutes // cook time: 2-3 minutes (no joke) // serves: 2-3


  • broccoli – 1 head
  • salt – for seasoning
  • sesame (or perilla) oil – 3-4 Tbsp.
  • sesame seeds – a sprinkle
  • coarse red pepper chili flakes - 1 Tbsp. (add more if you lean toward spice)


  1. chop broccoli into rough bite-size chunks, your call
  2. flash steam or boil the florets (if boiling, insert after water boils in pot. microwaving works well too.)
  3. transfer to a small mixing bowl
  4. pour sesame oil, red pepper chili flakes, and salt
  5. mix and allow oil-infusion
  6. taste to check if it’s well-seasoned
  7. finish with a sprinkle of sesame seeds
  8. plate and eat proudly at the office 

Note: Another way to incorporate broccoli into your life--apologies that this will not be as lunch-in-the-office-friendly--is to cook the stalks and once cooled, dip them with some tangy go-chu-jang dip.

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Anna W. Yi © 2017. All rights reserved.
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