You may have noticed a leafy green stranger cropping up in your local grocery store produce aisle. Bok choy is a type of Chinese cabbage with an appearance and texture a little closer to mustard greens. When it comes to preparing bok choy, you’re really only limited by your imagination, but a favorite method is stir-fry. We’ve put together a tasty and simple way to introduce bok choy into your regular stir-fry routine.
1. Chop off the end and wash. Bok choy has thick stalks that meet at the bottom in a tight circle. You’ll need to chop off the end and wash the stems thoroughly, as dirt collects down in the bottom.
2. Separate stems and leaves. The leaves and stems of bok choy will cook at different rates, so you’ll need to separate them. Once your bok choy is washed and the stems are fully scrubbed down, use a sharp knife to separate the leaves and stems. You can cut as precisely as you want along the stems — depending on how chef-like you’re feeling — but the stems get thinner the closer they are to the leaves, so it’s okay to be a little messy. Slice the stems in 1/4-inch pieces and chop the leaves into 1-inch pieces.
3. Add the stems to your stir-fry first. Choose your favorite stir-fry recipe or simply heat a few tablespoons of high-heat oil in your wok and add in the thick veggies first, like carrots or broccoli. This is when the bok choy stems get to join the party. Cover with the wok lid for 4-6 minutes and allow the veggies to steam, stirring occasionally.
4. Then steam the leaves. The leaves of bok choy will cook a little slower than when you’re sautéing spinach, but not by much. You’ll want to add them last. Right about when the stems and thicker veggies are tender and any other veggies are on the cusp of being ready, throw in the bok choy leaves and mix together with some of your favorite seasonings, which could include: 2 cloves minced garlic, 4 or 5 diced red chili peppers (depending on your preferences), 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, etc. Toss this all in the wok for about a minute or so and then it’ll be ready to serve.
Look at that — you mastered a new vegetable with an old recipe! Serve your veggie and bok choy stir-fry with your favorite side, steamed rice, or noodles.
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(Photos via Melanie Burke / Brit + Co)