What is Bok Choy: How to Cook Bok Choy
Bok choy has always been present in Chinese cuisine. Known in China as pak choi or pok choi, it is famous for having a number of health benefits and an easy to eat vegetable. Although the Chinese don’t shy away from eating a lot of veggies, the sweet taste of bok choy makes it a must-try for anyone wanting to add greens in their diet.
Bok choy looks like a cross between a lettuce and a cabbage. Like the lettuce, it has green and medium-sized leaves. Like a cabbage, it has a tender bulb that is also edible. Bok choy has a light green to dark green color for its leaves while the bulb is white. This green leafy vegetable can be eaten raw or cooked.
The origins of bok choy are found in China. It is part of the cruciferous family just like broccoli, cauliflower, and of course, cabbage. Today, bok choy is commonly found in Western grocery stores and is often referred to as Chinese cabbage or Shanghai cabbage.
Health Benefits of Bok Choy
Bok choy nutrition is gaining popularity because it provides protection to the most popular and life-threatening health conditions. To motivate you to add this vegetable to your diet, here are 4 of its major health benefits.
- Better-looking skin
Bok choy is rich in Vitamin C. Vitamin C is responsible for giving glowing and youthful skin. If you eat enough bok choy (or any vitamin C-rich food), you will notice your skin looking more alive. This is because bok choy also has cell repair properties that help produce healthier cells while getting rid of the dead and dry ones. Say no to dull and dry skin with bok choy.
- Healthier heart
Having a healthy heart is not impossible. Bok choy is rich in potassium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B-6, and folate which are all needed to have a healthy heart. The vitamins and minerals in bok choy help repair and maintain blood vessels which are highly important for the health of your heart and overall body.
- Stronger bones
Stronger bones are needed for you to be able to move properly and do daily tasks easily. Bok choy is rich in calcium and magnesium which are both needed to repair and maintain your bone structure. To add to that, it is also rich in phosphorus that promotes bone growth.
- Protection against cancer
Cancer is one of the conditions that plague a lot of people. Because bok choy is rich in anti-cancer properties, it can help prevent the formation of cancer cells. Bok choy is rich in folate which also helps in the repair and maintenance of the DNA. When healthy DNA is maintained, cancer cell production is reduced.
Eating Raw Bok Choy
What does bok choy taste like? When eaten raw, it tastes like a mild sweet leaf which is similar to how cabbage tastes. It isn’t bitter which is why most people prefer to have this vegetable in their meals as compared to kale and arugula.
To prepare raw bok choy, rinse the whole vegetable in cold water. This removes the dirt and chemicals that stayed on the leaves and stem. Next is chop off the end of the bok choy bulb. This will help you tear each bok choy leaf apart. If you want to make sure that it’s clean, you can rinse it again with cold water using a vegetable brush. Give more attention to the stems because dirt tends to settle in that area.
After all the cleaning, you can now enjoy raw bok choy. You can dip it in sauce or mix it into a salad.
Bok Choy Dishes to Try
There are many ways you can cook bok choy. Likewise, there are a lot of dishes where you can use this green leafy vegetable to add a different taste or to additional health benefits. If you don’t know what to cook with this amazing vegetable, here is how to prepare bok choy based on four different dishes.
Bok Choy Salad
The first on the menu is bok choy salad. If you don’t feel comfortable eating bok choy on its own, you can prepare it with other greens in a bowl of salad.
To be able to have a crunchy bowl of bok choy salad, pick 2 bunches of fresh and crunchy bok choy. Prepare the following ingredients as well:
- ½ cup olive oil
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- 3 tbsps soy sauce
- 1 bunch of green onions
- ⅛ cup of toasted almonds
- 6 oz chow mien noodles
First, mix all the liquid ingredients together. Make sure that they are mixed well before you place the chopped bok choy. Also throw in the green onions, almonds, and noodles. Mix all the ingredients together so that the sauce can cover all bok choy leaves and noodles.
Bok Choy Soup
The next dish you can create with bok choy is bok choy soup. If you are craving for something warm and healthy, then you will be glad to know that this recipe only takes 15 minutes to cook.
You will need:
- 3 cups of water
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp dried turmeric
- 4 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
- Pinch of lemon juice
- Salt and pepper
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To create the soup, prepare the bok choy by separating the leaves from the stems. You can just chop off the leafy part while chopping the stem into shorter pieces. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pot and add garlic and turmeric once the oil is hot. Wait for the garlic to turn brown after a few minutes. Then, put the stems of the bok choy followed by the leaves because the former takes longer to cook. Sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. After the stems get softer, put 3 cups of water and wait for the food to boil. Once it boils, you now have your bok choy soup.
Garlic Bok Choy with Oyster Sauce
Want something savorier? Here is a bok choy recipe that is filled with flavor. Here are the ingredients you will use:
- 3 bunches of fresh bok choy
- 3 tbsps of oyster sauce
- 3 tbsps of olive oil
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 2 tsps minced garlic
- 10 tsps water
- Ground black pepper and salt to taste
- ¼ tsp sesame oil
The total time you need to create garlic bok choy with oyster sauce is 30 minutes. During prep time, cut off the bok choy leaves from their stems. If you prefer shorter pieces to chew on, you can cut the bok choy in half. Next combine the sugar, sesame oil, water, and oyster sauce in a bowl. Mix them well to have a balanced sauce. On the side, cook the garlic with oil. When the garlic turns light brown, pour the sauce you’ve made and put a pinch of black pepper. Stir and wait for the sauce to boil. Then, add all the bok choy and mix it well with the sauce.
Once the sauce starts to reduce, you can transfer everything to a plate. If you want it to be tastier, add crunchy garlic on top of the bok choy.
Stir-Fried Bok Choy
And lastly, you have stir-fried bok choy. Stir-fry is one of the most popular dishes to be made with this vegetable. In fact, this dish originated in China.
The ingredients you will need are:
- 2 bunches of bok choy
- ¼ cup of water
- 1 tbsp of rice wine or dry sherry
- 2 tsps of soy sauce
- ¼ tsp of cornstarch
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 slice of ginger, minced
- ¼ tsp of sugar
- 2 tsp sesame seeds
- Salt to taste
Prepare the bok choy and separate each stalk. Cut each stalk crosswise with a width of 2 inches. Pour water on a pot and wait for it to boil. Place a steamer basket on top of the boiling water and put all the bok choy on top. After a minute of steaming, drain the hot water. On a bowl, pour water, rice wine, soy sauce, and cornstarch. Mix them and set aside. Heat the wok or a 12-inch skillet and place the oil. Swirl the oil all over the wok and add garlic and ginger. Stir fry the two ingredients until they are fragrant.
Now add the bok choy and sprinkle with salt and sugar. Stir fry the ingredients for 30 seconds. Then, place the soy sauce mixture and stir fry all the ingredients. When the bok choy is tender, place them on a bowl and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
These four dishes are just a glimpse of all the meals you can create with bok choy. If you are looking for meals that are rich in vitamins C & A, then bok choy is the best vegetable to add to your recipe.