Vegetable of the Week: Baby Bok Choy

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bok choy

This week’s vegetable is baby bok choy.  Why you ask? It was on sale at Harris Teeter.

Baby Bok Choy baby-bok-choy

It’s in the same produce section as spinach, greens, and collards. Like cauliflower, it is packed with vitamins (A, C, and K) and minerals (iron, potassium, and calcium) and is a good source of fiber. It is also considered a “non-starchy” vegetable for those looking for foods low on the glycemic index. The North Carolina 10% Campaign publishes a seasonal guide for local fruits and vegetables.  Bok choy is on the list of fresh vegetables available in the fall and winter months. I plan on looking for it at the farmer’s market the next time I visit. Baby bok choy is supposed to be a little sweeter and milder than regular bok choy.

Previous Experience:  I have never cooked it; I have only eaten it at Chinese restaurants.

How to Pick Bok Choy:  I was told to think of it like cabbage. Apparently, bok choy means white cabbage in Chinese. So the white stems need to be sturdy and the green leafy parts need to be firm and not wilted. The ones I bought were a little wilted but they still tasted fresh when I cooked them.

Prepping the Vegetable: I chopped the very bottom off the stems since they looked like roots. Then I cut the stems off and separated the leaves. I washed the stems and leaves in water.

Ways I Cooked It: Saute with other Vegetablesbaby-bok-choy-saute

I had no idea how to cook it.  I immediately sent messages to friends on Facebook and also emailed a really good friend about what to do with it. Everyone recommended starting with a little bit of olive oil, ginger and garlic and then cooking the stems first and other vegetables and adding the leaves in last so they would cook but not get all mushy. We added some soy sauce near the end to add a little more flavor. It was pretty tasty. It takes more like greens than spinach so it definitely needs something else to go with it or it can take over the taste of the food.

Recommendations from Friends who LOVE bok choy:

I have friends who love it and were pretty excited that I was cooking it and sent some good tips and ideas.

  • “Sarah, you should probably cut it before cooking it. We usually cut it lengthwise for sautes. We chop it up if we are using in stews or soups.”
  • “Ginger is a must when cooking bok choy.  Stir fry it with fresh slices of ginger if you have it.”
  • “Blanch the bok choy like you would spinach and then put a sauce over it – soy, oyster, and white pepper sauce are my three favorites”.
  • “We add it to noodles and soup to make it crunchier and hardier”.
  • “It is often used as an edible garnish for meat dishes. It keeps the flavor of the meat and adds a crunch to the dish.”
  • “You can use it like a lettuce wrap for meat. It rolls up pretty nicely and the leaves are really green and pretty.”

Have you tried bok choy or baby bok choy? Leave your recommendations and recipes in the comments below.

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