A member of the cabbage family, bok choy is often found in Asian cuisine, especially Chinese dishes. High in water, cooking bok choy requires a light hand and brief heating. Overcooking this vegetable renders it soggy and inedible, but its crunchy flavor when properly prepared makes it an exotic addition to many dishes. Aside from cooking, raw bok choy can be added to salads or with dips.
Selecting and Storing Bok Choy
Choose bok choy with dark green tips on the leaves and a bright white base. The head should be firm and crisp, not limp. Purchase only an amount of bok choy that can be used within 2 days. After that, the vegetable becomes limp. Store bok choy in the vegetable crisper in a plastic zip top bag made for produce storage or a perforated bag.
Preparing Bok Choy for Cooking
Just prior to use, the head of bok choy should be trimmed by cutting off the root end and pulling off limp or discolored leaves. The leaves should be separated while holding the bok choy under running water until the water runs clear and all visible dirt has been washed away.
Steaming Bok Choy
Place trimmed and cleaned bok choy stems into a vegetable steamer and steam for 1 minute. Add the leaves and continue to steam for an additional 5 minutes. This method will ensure that the thicker white stems will be cooked through without the leaves becoming soggy. When cooked, the bok choy should be bright green and crisp-tender.
Grilling Bok Choy
Cut bok choy in half lengthwise, but do not remove the root. Preheat the grill or a grill pan over medium high heat. Brush the cut surface with oil or a marinade and place cut side down onto grill. Keep the grill lid closed or lightly cover the bok choy with a tent of aluminum foil and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until the bok choy is tender.
Stir Frying or Sauteeing Bok Choy
Trim the bok choy into 1/2-inch slices and separate the leaves from the white stems. Heat a wok or saute pan over high heat. Add 1 to 2 tbsp. of oil once the pan is hot. Add the white stems of the bok choy and stir fry for 3 minutes. Pour the slices of leaves into the pan and continue to saute for another 3 minutes. The leaves will be wilted and the stems crisp-tender.
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