Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Pick of the Week: Bok Choy

This week's pick is dedicated to Sherry Cohen, who has only eaten bok choy in Chinese restaurants. And she guesses -- accurately I might add -- that there is more to bok choy than what she has been served. Because of bok choy's high water content, when cooked, it gets limp very quickly, which means if you use it in a stir-fry, cook it over high heat for only a few minutes. I find most recipes call for cooking bok choy way too long.

I really love bok choy, either cooked or raw in salads. It is one of those often overlooked vegetables, and that is a shame because it really is a wonderful green, with a light, sweet flavor, and when raw, crisp texture. It is very low in calories and high in vitamins A and C.

Choose stalks that are firm and leaves that are bright green. Avoid those with yellow or wilted leaves.

Store in an unsealed plastic bag, for about a week in the refrigerator.

The following recipe comes from my soon-to-be son-in-law Bryan Gilmour, the chef at 121 Restaurant at Oxford Airport. If you have never been there, do yourself a favor and give it a try. Bryan and the staff make some incredible food, and the atmosphere -- watching private planes land and take-off at the airport -- makes for a terrific environment. This is one of Bryan's signature salads.

4 heads baby bok choy
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
2 cups canola oil, divided
1 package Top Ramen noodles
Half a container cherry tomatoes
¼ cup sliced almonds
½ bunch scallions, diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
* Cut each bok choy lengthwise and cut out end piece. Slice the bok choy into bite-size pieces. * Rinse the greens and set aside.
* In a bowl, mix soy sauce and white balsamic vinegar. Gradually whisk in 1 cup oil.
* In a sauté pan, gently heat 1 cup oil over low heat. Add noodles (discard seasoning package) and sauté until crispy.
* Slice cherry tomatoes in half.
* Coat bok choy with dressing.
* Gently mix in noodles, tomatoes, almonds and scallions. Salt and pepper to taste. Serves 2.

The next recipe is one I have been making for years, and uses dark sesame oil, an ingredient I really cannot be without.

1 Tblsp. dark sesame oil
1 bunch bok choy, sliced crosswise (across the stalks), into 1/2-inch slices
1 Tblsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Ground black pepper to taste
1 Tblsp. hulled sunflower seeds
1/2 cup sliced almonds
* Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bok choy and saute 2 minutes.
* Add soy sauce and red pepper. Saute 1 minute. Stalks shold be crisp and leaves starting to wilt. Do not overcook.
* Season with pepper. Top with sunflower seeds and almonds. Makes 4 servings.


  1. I LOVE bok choy...and have never attempted to cook it. These two recipes sound so good. I do believe I've been inspired!

    B. J. Ryan's in Norwalk has sauteed baby bok choy on their menu as a side dish and as a side on many of their entrees. Unusual for a restaurant, but glad they do. It's wonderful!

  2. Both recipes read TRY ME! And I will. Many thanks!