Bok choy is a member of the Chinese cabbage family, but it is smaller and has wider leaves, which along with the stalks are a pale green color. Baby bok choy (a dwarf variety) is 10 inches or less in length and has six or seven leaves which have a large flowery look. The mature sized bok choy is usually about 16" long. Both taste similar to spinach or Swiss chard and it can be eaten raw as single stalks or combined into other dishes such as stir-fries and soups. The smaller varieties are often cooked whole while the mature variety is typically used cut up.
This Asian vegetable is also known as "Shanghai bok choy" which again, refers to the smaller baby bok choy and is available throughout the year. When selecting, look for firm stalks with crisp, fresh leaves. The cabbage should be used when fresh if possible because it does not store well. If it is necessary to store, keep it in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic, and it should stay fresh for 3 to 5 days.
If you can't find bok choy then you can substitute equal amounts of one of these vegetables:
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Bok choy (baby and mature varieties) are easily found in most any Asian grocery store as well as some well-stocked grocery stores. Trader Joe's typically carries it as well as most Whole Foods Markets.