What else would you do with bok choy but make it into an Asian style dish? Bok choy is one of the vegetables that is grown by my CSA farmer and I get plenty of it in early summer. I really like the baby bok choy because it seems to be sweeter. Here is a quick and easy side that complements any meat, fish or chicken dish and is full of vitamins and minerals.
Bok choy is also known as Chinese cabbage and is very similar to a variant cultivated in Zhejiang around the 14th century. During the following centuries, it became popular in northern China. It was introduced to Korea, where it became the staple vegetable for making kimchi. In the early 20th century, it was taken to Japan by returning soldiers who had fought in China during the Russo-Japanese War. Chinese cabbage is now commonly found in markets all over the world.
There are actually two very distinct varieties of Chinese cabbage: Brassica rapa, with subspecies pekinensis and chinensis. These vegetables are both related to the Western cabbage, and are of the same species as the common turnip. Both have many variations in name, spelling and scientific classification–especially the bok choy or chinensis variety.
Also called Pekinensis cabbages, this variety has broad green leaves with white petioles, tightly wrapped in a cylindrical formation and usually forming a compact head. This is commonly known as Chinese cabbage.
Chinensis varieties do not form heads; instead, they have smooth, dark green leaf blades forming a cluster reminiscent of mustard or celery. This is bok choy as we know it. Chinensis varieties are popular in southern China and Southeast Asia. Being winter-hardy, they are increasingly grown in Northern Europe.
Bok choy is a good source of dietary fiber, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium and phosphorus, and a very good source of Vitamin A (I think this is probably beta carotene), Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, potassium and manganese.
Additionally, the omega 3 to 6 ratio is very good — almost 1:1. As this vegetable is rich with minerals, it should always be eaten with a little butter or ghee added in to the oils as butter fat contains the fat soluble mineral activators and will ensure that the minerals will be absorbed.
As a member of the brassica family, bok choy should always be cooked, especially if you have thyroid issues, due to the goitrogens inherent to this family of vegetables.
Baby Bok Choy with Ginger and Scallion
- 3 stalks of baby bok choy trimmed (use organic vegetable when possible)
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 2 stalks scallion minced
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil (where to buy sesame oil)
- 1 teaspoon roasted sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon butter or ghee (how to make ghee)
- sea salt (where to buy sea salt)
- coconut aminos (where to buy coconut aminos) (optional)
- Remove the outer leaves of the bok choy and compost them if you can
- Rinse all the inner leaves and separate them
- In a large fry pan with a cover, heat 1 tablespoon sesame oil and the butter or ghee on medium to medium low
- Place all the bok choy leaves in the pan and mix up with the oils
- Place the cover on the pan and let cook until wilted and the stalks are softened — about 5 – 7 minutes
- Be sure to keep an eye on the pan as you don’t want to overcook the bok choy
- When you see the stalks softening add the roasted sesame oil, ginger and scallion for a minute or two and stir in
- Add the garlic for the last minute just to warm up (if you are adding coconut aminos here is where to do this)
- Remove from heat and plate (an oriental looking plate would be nice)
- Add salt to taste
- Serve immediately or may be quickly reheated in a pan later