Bok choy is to Chinese cooking what cabbage is to German cooking. Actually, bok choy, or pak choi is called Chinese cabbage. The vegetable was harvested in the 14th century for its medicinal purposes, then eventually for sustenance. In the 1800s, it made its way to markets in the western world. Until recently, I thought the only way to cook it was in a stir fry, but after some research, I’ve found that bok choy is a pretty versatile veggie. It can be broiled, roasted, deep fried and even eaten raw.
**All About Baby Bok Choy**
In Season: Baby Bok Choy
When to Buy: Baby Bok Choy can be found in grocery stores year-round because it is relatively easy to grow anywhere. I found mine at a local market in Lancaster, Pa. of all places.
What to Buy: Look for bok choy with firm white stalks and fresh green leaves. As bok choy ages it turns brown, wilted, and slimy.
Prep & Storage: The smaller leaves, as shown above, are delicate and can crush easily. So it’s best not to throw them in your vegetable crisper where carrots and zucchini will inevitably get piled on top of the bok choy. Instead wrap it in paper towel and put it in a plastic bag. Store on a shelf where you won’t accidentally put something on top of it. Don’t wash leaves before storing, or they will get slimy faster. Stored this way, bok choy should last for a week.
How to Cook: With baby bok choy, stalks are tender enough to be cooked with the leaves. So wash whole as you would lettuce. Obviously stir fry is the go-to recipe for bok choy, but don’t be afraid to roast the stalks in the oven with a little lemon juice and oil, add the leaves to a salad in place of bitter arugula, or shred it up with apples and carrots to make a sweet asian slaw.
Recipe Box: Check out our favorite Bok Choy recipes!
Bok Choy with Chives, Black Bean Sauce and Chow Fun
This vegan dish requires some ingredients that can be found at an Asian market.
Roasted Baby Bok Choy
This simple recipe is perfect as a last-minute side to an Asian-inspired meal.
Crunchy Bok Choy Slaw
This recipe gives you 100% of your daily recommended value of Vitamin A.
Stir-Fried Beef with Honey Miso Sauce
This recipe can be made in bulk to feed a dorm hall or an apartment.
Grilled Baby Bok Choy
Just because your grilling meat, doesn’t mean you can’t make room for this healthy veggie on the grill.
Alexia Detweiler is a graduate of Penn State University, right smack dab in the middle of Pennsylvania’s farmland, which she took full advantage of.