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Chinese Culture >> Chinese Food Articles >> Bok Choy

How to Cook Bok Choy

Bok choy is a leafy vegetable belonging to the cabbage family. Long familiar to Chinese cooks, and to those who love Chinese food, it is showing up in a wide variety of other types of dishes. In fact, in any recipe in which you would normally use cabbage, you can probably use bok choy.

Nowadays bok choy can be found in most local supermarkets the year around. You might find it spelled as "bak choi" or even "paak choi," but "bok choy" seems to have become the preferred form in North America. Less commonly, it will go under a different name altogether; Chinese mustard cabbage, for example.

Just as with other green leafy vegetables, you should look for plants that are free of brown spots and that have firm stalks. The stalks themselves will be white in color; the leaves a darkish green.

Bok choy is wonderfully nutritious. It is low in calories--about a dozen in the usual serving. It is also bursting with vitamins A and C. In fact, you could get nearly all of your recommended daily allowance of the latter in one serving of bok choy, and about a third of your RDA of the former.

Bok choy is an easy plant to prepare. Just give it a good rinsing first and you can munch it raw for a healthy afternoon snack, or chop it up and add it to a salad.

Need a quick side dish to a main meal? French-cut the stems into pieces and place them, with the leaves, in a casserole dish. Add a little water, cover the dish, and zap in the microwave for 2 minutes. Remove just the leaves from the dish and zap the stems for 3 more minutes. Season both the leaves and the stems with butter, salt and pepper and serve it all together.

The most common way to cook bok choy is to stir fry it, in a wok or a regular frying pan. Tear or cut the leaves and stems and place in the pan, add three tablespoons of water, and begin heating (use a medium setting) as you stir. Add some cooking oil into which you have strained some fresh garlic. Remove the leaves at the two-minute mark and continue stir frying the stalks for three additional minutes.

After cooking, but before serving, drizzle a little soy sauce or sesame oil over the bok choy.

You can also include bok choy in a more robust stir fry, one that contains shrimp or chicken perhaps, along with bean sprouts, snow peas and other Chinese-restaurant type ingredients.

My main suggestion for bok choy? Experiment! Really, it's hard to go wrong with this versatile vegetable in the kitchen.

About the Author

Sarah Sandori is food and entertaining columnist for Solid-Gold.Info. Have you ever wanted to be able to duplicate a favorite dish from a favorite restaurant? Check out Sarah's source for the most mouth-watering secret restaurant recipes in America