What is Baby Bok Choy?
Baby Bok Choy is a miniature Chinese cabbage. It has tender stalks versus the tough fibers of full-size bok choy. Baby Bok Choy has bright green leaves with a sweet, clean flavor balanced by a peppery, mustardy bitterness.
Baby bok choy is part of a massive family of Chinese cabbage (Brassica rapa) plants that have been cultivated since the 1400s. Its Chinese name translates to “white vegetable” for its stalks, which are often white but also can be light green.
Baby bok choy is tolerant of both mild heat and cold, so it grows in temperate climates worldwide. Locally it is available year-round. It is still a much larger crop in China, Japan, and Korea than in other parts of the world.
Cooking with Baby Bok Choy
Baby Bok Choy is very fast-cooking and versatile. Chopped raw baby bok choy is delicious in salads and slaws. There are many ways to cook baby bok choy. Leave small ones whole. Halve or quarter larger ones lengthwise and then stir-fry, roast, or sear them. To keep the leaves extra green, cut them off the stalk and cook them for a shorter time. Dress it lightly with soy sauce and garlic as a side dish for chicken, seafood, and pork, or tossed into Asian noodle or rice dishes.
Baby bok choy has a sweetness that is complemented by ginger, miso, and sesame. It also pairs well with fruits, sweet potatoes, carrots, and sweet spirits like sherry that contrast its peppery notes. A hint of something salty and umami-rich like prosciutto, bacon, or a sharp cheese adds depth to dishes made with baby bok choy.
Baby Bok Choy Recipes
Stir-Fried Bok Choy with Garlic, Ginger, and Scallions
-5-6 baby bok choy
-2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
-2 Tablespoons lower-salt chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
-1 teaspoon cornstarch
-1/4 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
-2 Tablespoons peanut oil
-4 oz. scallions (8 to 10 medium), white and light-green parts only, cut into 3-inch lengths and halved lengthwise if thick
-2 large cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
-One 1/2-inch square of ginger, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
-Cut the baby bok choy heads lengthwise into 3/4-inch-wide pieces or wedges.)
-In a small bowl, combine the oyster sauce, chicken broth, cornstarch, and sesame oil. Whisk well to dissolve the cornstarch.
-In a 12-inch nonstick stir-fry pan, heat the peanut oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the bok choy and season with 1/8 tsp. kosher salt. Cook, tossing frequently with tongs until the stems are pliable and lightly browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the scallions, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, until the aromatics are tender, fragrant, and starting to brown, about 2 minutes.
-Remove the pan from the heat, and using a heatproof spatula, stir the sauce and quickly mix it with the vegetables in the pan. As soon as the sauce thickens and has coated most of the vegetables (a few seconds), transfer to a plate and serve immediately.
Sushi Rice Bowl
-1-1/2 cups cooked short-grain white rice (cook according to package directions)
-5 oz. tuna, seared
-1 cup blanched thinly sliced (lengthwise) baby bok choy
-1/2 cup steamed edamame
-2 Tbs. chopped pickled ginger
-1 Tbs. rice wine vinegar.
-2 tsp. mirin
-1 tsp. soy sauce
-1 Tbs. thinly sliced nori
-1 tsp. black sesame seeds
-Mound the rice in a large bowl.
Arrange the tuna, vegetables, and ginger on top.
-Whisk the vinegar, mirin, and soy sauce together, and drizzle on top.
-Sprinkle with the nori and sesame seeds, and serve,
Apple Bok Choy Salad
-6 cups finely chopped bok choy
-1 large apple, shredded
-1 large carrot, shredded
-1/2 cup chopped red onion
-1/2 cup unsweetened soy, hemp, or almond milk
-1/2 cup raw cashews or 1/4 cup raw cashew butter
-1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
-1/4 cup raisins
-1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
-Combine bok choy, apple, carrot, and chopped onion in a large bowl.
-Blend soy milk, cashews, vinegar, raisins, and mustard in a food processor or high-powered blender.
-Add the desired amount to chopped vegetables.