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Bok Choy

Also indexed as: Celery Mustard, Chinese Mustard, Onf Choy, Pak Choi, Spoon Cabbage, Taisai

Illustration

Preparation, uses, and tips

Chop off enough of the base of the bok choy plant before washing so that stalks can be cleaned individually. Rinse stalks and leaves under running water, using a vegetable brush if they are especially dirty at the base of the stalk.

Bok choy stalks can be consumed raw with dip, or chopped and used in salads. Bok choy has a high water content and becomes limp very quickly upon cooking. It should be cooked very quickly over high temperature so that the leaves become tender and the stalks stay crisp. In Chinese stir-fried dishes and soups, bok choy is added toward the end of the cooking process. Since the leaves cook much more quickly than the stalks, it’s a good idea to add the stalks first and then the leaves about a minute later. Cut the stalks into 1/2-inch (1.25cm) pieces before cooking.

To boil

Cook stems in salted water for four minutes and leaves for two to three minutes.

To steam

Allow pieces to steam for about six minutes, or until tender-crisp.

To sauté

Stir-fry the stalks over high heat for about six minutes and the leaves for about three minutes, until stalks are tender-crisp and leaves are just wilted.

Bok choy goes well with the flavors of soy sauce, hot peppers, and toasted sesame oil.

Buying and storing tips

Look for bok choy with firm stalks and leaves. Avoid yellowing or wilted leaves. Store in an unsealed plastic bag. Bok choy generally keeps well and will stay fresh for more than a week, but should be used in four to five days for best flavor.

Varieties

Common name variations for bok choi include pak choi, pak choy, bok choi, spoon cabbage, taisai, celery mustard, and Chinese mustard. Baby bok choy is smaller and more tender than mature bok choy. Shanghai pak choi is similar to bok choy but has pale green stalks with leaves that are just slightly darker than the stalk.

The most distinct comparison between bok choy and Chinese cabbage is in appearance. Bok choy has loosely clustered leaves with no compact head, while Chinese cabbage has either a cylindrical or barrel-shaped head.

Nutrition Highlights

Bok choy, 3 oz. (85g)
Calories: 14
Protein: 1.0g
Carbohydrate: 2.73g
Total Fat: 0.18g
Fiber: 0.84g

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