How to Cut Bok Choy Stalks

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Bok choy can be fried, braised or made into soup.
Bok choy can be fried, braised or made into soup. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Bok choy is a staple in Chinese cooking and offers nutrition in its leaves and stems. When cooked, the stalks become soft and creamy in texture. Also known as Chinese cabbage, bok choy is high in vitamin C, folate and fiber, as well as beta-carotene and calcium. It is cooked for use in a variety of dishes and stir-fries. Since bok choy has two different parts, cutting the vegetable can seem puzzling, but is actually quite easy. The plant produces loose heads of white stems and green leaves. Its important to remove the thick root part of the stem to separate the leaves and ensure even cooking, but once this is accomplished, it can be cut in a variety of ways.

Remove any yellowing or wilted leaves from the bok choy head.

Cut the root end off off about 1 inch from the bottom. Do not cut too much off; just trim it enough to remove the thick stem. By removing this thick part, the vegetable cooks more evenly and the leaves can be separated.

Separate the leaves from the head and rinse once more, if necessary.

Slice the stalk lengthwise to create smaller stalks. Cut them into bite-size pieces for stir-fries. You can also keep the leaves and stems attached and cook them together, but make sure the stalks cook evenly.

Cut the leaves from the stems, if desired. Use a knife to cut the vegetable parts to an appropriate size, but make them uniform to ensure even cooking. In many recipes, cutting the stems to 1-inch pieces is appropriate. The stems or stalks should be cooked for longer than the leaves if the parts are separated.

Tips & Warnings

  • There are many ways to prepare and cut bok choy. You can cut it into small pieces lengthwise or simply tear it up and toss it into a stir-fry.
  • When growing bok choy, you can harvest the entire plant by cutting it near the base. Baby bok choy are the seedlings that are thinned from a garden plot; these do not require much cutting before cooking and may not need any slicing at all.
  • Bok choy requires a short cooking time. Cook stems and leaves for about three to five minutes in hot oil and add seasoning for a quick and tasty recipe.
  • Remember that the tender middle part of the bok choy is considered the best part to eat.
  • Avoid selecting bok choy with yellowing leaves. Select heads that have fresh, crisp and dark green leaves.

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