Bok Choy

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Varieties & Uses

joi choi a type of bok choySeveral years ago bok choy was mostly found in Asian grocery stores and menus.  As our population has diversified this nutritious vegetable has found its way into mainstream markets and is no longer isolated to the ethnic table.

Bok choy is eaten at various stages of growth from shoots and seedlings to fully mature plants.  Both the leaves and the root of bok choy are used in making kabu pickles and is also added to hotpot dishes and soups.  The baby varieties are very nice for braising and make a nutritious accompaniment to any fish or meat dish.  

The shoots can be rinsed and dried and used in stir-fries.  The dwarf varieties (most common) can be steamed or braised. To cook the longer mature bok choy one should separate the leaves, clean well then cut the thick stem into pieces.  The stems need a longer cooking time so they should be prepared first and the leaves added later.  You can also just use the leaves and save the stems for the soup pot.

**Note: the variety shown here is called joi choi

Storage

Store for 3 - 5 days refrigerated.

Where  And How To Buy

Available in Asian markets that specialize in Chinese or other Asian vegetables as well as in many well-stocked grocery stores.  Bok choy may be able to be found in your local farmer's market as well.

Look for bright green leaves and white stalks free from brown spots.  

Health Benefits

Ancient medicine suggests using bok choy to treat heat congestion including a dry cough, fever and chills.  The vegetable is high in vitamins A and C and contains numerous phytonutrients.

Featured Recipe

Bok Choy Stems Stir-Fried With Almonds

This recipe is from Elizabeth Schneider.

  • 2 pounds white-stemmed mature bok choy
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1/3 cup blanched, toasted and salted almonds
  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic

Separate the bok choy stems at the base.  Slice the leaves from the stems and reserve for another use.

Rinse the stalks well, halve lengthwise any stalk wider than 1 1/4".  Slice the stems at an angle about 1" wide.

Blend the cornstarch, sugar, salt, water and lemon juice, set aside.

Chop the almonds medium-fine.

Set a wok over moderately high heat.  Pour oil into the pan around the edge. Add the stems and toss until slightly softened but still crunchy, about 2 minutes.  Add the ginger and garlic and toss for 30 seconds.  Reduce the heat, cover the pan and cook the stems until they are almost tender through; about 2 minutes.

Uncover the pan; stir in the cornstarch mixture and add, toss the vegetable.  Continue tossing unit the surface of the bok choy is slicked and stalks are cooked through.  Add the nuts, toss again and serve immediately.

author

Barbara Bowman graduated with degree in Foods and Nutrition from San Jose State University. As CEO of GourmetSleuth.com she spends most waking hours writing, cooking, eating, gardening and traveling.