Bok choy recipes & cooking tips

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Bok choy is a delicious type of cabbage best known for its use in Chinese cooking. These bok choy recipes and cooking tips will help you incorporate this delicious, healthy vegetable into your cooking.

The stalks of bok choy have a flavor somewhere between celery and cabbage, and the leaves taste more like spinach. Except they’re less bitter.

It has a wonderful crunch, even after a bit of steaming or sauteing.

Bok choy on black plate


Health benefits of bok choy

  • Bok choy is a good source of Vitamins A, C and K. Specifically, one cup fulfills nearly 2/3 of your daily recommended allowance for Vitamin A, about half the Vitamin C you need, and about 40% of the Vitamin K.
  • It also has a good dose of fiber, which is something many of us don’t get enough of.
  • A cup of bok choy has 74 mg of calcium (7% of your recommended daily allowance), making it a great choice for those avoiding dairy.
  • It’s also a good source for several other minerals, including potassium and manganese.

Buying bok choy

Look for stalks that are firm and without brown spots. The leaves should be green and healthy-looking, not yellowing or wilting.

You should keep it in the refrigerator. If it’s slightly wilted before you get around to using it, you can lay it in a bowl of cool water for a few minutes.

Bok choy cooking methods

You can do many different things with bok choy. Some of my favorite ways of cooking it include:

Raw in salads or slaws

Anywhere you like the crisp flavor of cabbage, you can substitute bok choy. Ditto on recipes that call for Swiss chard.

The leaves are great in a salad, and the stalks are too if you chop them up nicely. You can also chop it more finely and use it in your favorite slaw recipe.

Steam it

You can use a steamer or a steaming basket in a pot to steam bok choy. Steam it until it’s as tender as you want. Bok choy retains a lot more crunch than most cabbage-family vegetables.

Wok it

Naturally, the bok choy is delicious in wok dishes. It retains its crunch, adding texture to the meal, along with that cabbage-like flavor that goes well with most anything.

If you cook it in with other ingredients from the start, it will get fairly tender. To keep it really crisp, just toss it in at the last minute.

Grill it (or pan sear it)

Bok choy stalks are absolutely fantastic if grilled or pan seared. Just break them apart into flat sections, brush some extra-virgin olive oil on them, add some salt and ground pepper to taste, and then grill or pan sear them for about five minutes at most (watch it, because depending on how hot your grill/stove gets, even a couple of minutes may be all you need).

I love it when it’s got just a few black marks on it from the grill – that really brings out some flavor without removing the crispness.

Season it

There are many ways to season it. If you like, add some soy sauce, ginger, garlic, onions and/or chili pepper

With mushrooms

Mushrooms provide a wonderful chewy contrast to the crunchy bok choy, as well as that rich mushroom flavor. Cook some sliced mushrooms (shiitake and crimini are great choices) along with your bok choy, toss them onto some rice, add a little soy sauce or a mushroom gravy, and you’ve got a vegetarian entree.

Add some chicken, fish, beef or other meat, and it’s not vegetarian anymore, but it’s fantastic. This is such a quick, easy one-dish meal.

Salt substitutes

If you’re on a low-salt diet, most any salt substitute will taste great on bok choy. Really, any seasonings at all go with this vegetable, so you can’t miss.

Sautee it in butter or oil

Put pieces of bok choy stalk in a pan with some butter, the vegetable oil of your choice or a broth. Add salt, pepper and/or other seasonings to taste and cook it for 2-5 minutes (2 will leave it very crisp, 5 will make it more tender) on low heat.

Bok Choy Recipes

1. Garlic and Ginger Bok Choy. This simple but delicious dish makes a terrific side. You can use toasted sesame oil in place or regular sesame oil for added flavor.

2. Shrimp Bok Choy and Turmeric Soup. Unlike so many Asian-inspired recipes, this one is soy free. It’s loaded with flavor so the turmeric doesn’t overwhelm it.

3. Gingery Poached Egg Soup. I think of this one as a sort of no-noodle alternative to udon soup. And it’s quick to make.

4. Spicy Cast Iron Grilled Bok Choy. I love cooking in my cast iron skillet because everything seems to taste better in it. This easy recipe adds some spice and olive oil to bok choy.

5. Crispy Smothered Chicken with Roasted Baby Bok Choy and Mushrooms. Hey, look, it’s a bok choy recipe that’s not Asian. Unlike most smothered chicken recipes, the chicken in this one isn’t cooked in flour. It’s just drowned in gravy.

6. Thai Coconut Soup with Bok Choy & Mushrooms. If you love Thai coconut soups, you have to check this one out. It calls for tofu, but you can substitute quinoa instead.

7. Roasted Asian Glazed Chicken Thighs with Steamed Bok Choy. This dish takes care of your entree and one side all at once. The chicken glaze becomes a sauce for dipping the bok choy.