Bok Choy Recipe

I’m going to tell you to do something that is totally contrary to many Asian cookbooks out there. And yeah, it also flips my motto, “Hot Wokky, No Stickky” on its head.

Okay, ready?

Cold Wokky, Very Garlickky.

Bok Choy Recipe

The problem with using a very hot wok or frying pan to stir fry with minced garlic and ginger is that you’ll probably burn it. Burnt garlic and ginger is big time suckky. When I’m stir-frying vegetables, like in this bok choy recipe, I add the minced garlic and ginger to COLD oil and COLD wok or pan. As the wok and oil heat up, the ginger and garlic gently sizzles. The longer the aromatics stay in contact with the oil – the more flavor it infuses into the oil. So, now you’ve got a tablespoon of that an incredible garlicky, gingery oil. Toss the bok choy leaves in that oil, so that each leaf of the bok choy is bathed in heavenly flavor.

If you had used a hot wok and hot oil, you only get a few seconds before they burn. What does burnt garlic and ginger taste like?

Bitter.

Bitter can be good sometimes – I LOVE bitter. But when you’re going for a more delicate flavor, especially in a bok choy dish, you might not want bitter.

Now, I do want to say that the rules for cooking meat in a pan or wok are different – (that’s another lesson that I’ve written extensively about at Simply Recipes.)

Young grasshoppa, let me show you the way.

How to cook bok choy

Bok Choy Recipe

Start by trimming the bok choy stem off – don’t trim too much – just the end. Cutting the thick stem off will ensure that the bok choy cooks evenly. Separate out the bok choy leaves and rinse under running water.

Bok Choy Recipe - Trim stem off

Bok Choy Recipe - Trim stem off

But leave the tender baby that’s in the middle of each bok choy! That’s the golden nugget! Finely mince garlic and grate fresh ginger with a microplane grater. Grating the ginger helps break up the tough fibers! (and yeah, sometimes when the ginger is nice and fresh, I don’t even bother peeling off the paper-thin skin)

Bok Choy Recipe - Tender baby bok choyBok Choy Recipe - Mince Garlic and Grate Ginger

Place wok or frying pan on your stove and pour in the cooking oil. Add the garlic and ginger. Turn the heat to medium-high. Let the ginger and garlic gently sizzle in the oil. When the aromatics become fragrant and light golden brown, add the bok choy leaves. Toss to coat each leaf with the garlicky, gingery oil.

Bok Choy Recipe - Add garlic and ginger to cold oil and wokBok Choy Recipe - Add leaves into wok

I really mean it! Toss, baby, toss! Stir! Faster! You only have like 15 seconds of tossing time! I am super wok-stirring queen!

Bok Choy Recipe - TossBok Choy Recipe - Toss

Pour in broth, water or wine over the bok choy. Immediately cover and let cook for 1 minute. Season with salt and drizzle a bit of sesame oil on top.

Bok Choy Recipe - Pour in broth, water or wineBok Choy Recipe - Let cook for 1 minute

That’s it! I hope you try this method – it works for any type of vegetable, like Napa cabbage or broccoli. For thicker vegetables (like broccoli), increase the steaming time by another minute and maybe add a bit more water/broth.

Oh yeah, why tongs instead of a standard wok chan (spatula)? Because it’s easier to use the tongs to toss, flip and turn when dealing with delicate vegetables.

 

More recipes to explore

Chinese Spinach (Yu Choy) Recipe with Toasted Garlic (Steamy Kitchen)

Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce (Steamy Kitchen)

Chinese Eggplant with Spicy Garlic Sauce (Steamy Kitchen)

Chinese Greens (Yu Choy) Stir Fry (Steamy Kitchen)

Asian Vegetable Stir Fry (Recipe Girl)

Yum

Bok Choy Recipe

Servings: 4

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds bok choy or baby bok choy
1 1/2 tablespoons canola, vegetable or peanut oil
1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
3 tablespoons broth or water (or 2 tablespoons broth/water + 1 tablespoon wine)
salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

Directions:

1. Start by trimming the stem off - don't trim too much - just the end. Cutting the thick stem off will ensure that the bok choy cooks evenly. Separate out the leaves, keep the tender center intact and clean under running water. Drain.

2. Finely mince garlic and grate fresh ginger with a microplane grater. Grating the ginger helps break up the tough fibers! (and yeah, sometimes when the ginger is nice and fresh, I don't even bother peeling off the paper-thin skin)

3. Place wok or frying pan on your stove and pour in the cooking oil. Add the garlic and ginger. Turn the heat to medium-high. Let the ginger and garlic gently sizzle in the oil. When the aromatics become fragrant and light golden brown, add the bok choy leaves. Toss very well to coat each leaf with the garlicky, gingery oil for 15 seconds. Pour in broth, water or wine. Immediately cover and let cook for 1 minute. Season with salt and drizzle a bit of sesame oil on top.