Whether you're stewing it, stir-frying it or tossing it in a salad, bok choy can add vitamins and vibrance to just about any dish.
- Talk about a healthy veggie! One cup of cooked bok choy provides 70 percent of your Daily Value of vitamin C and 140 percent of your Daily Value of vitamin A. Respectively, these nutrients help maintain gums and promote healthy eyesight.
- Bok choy is also a good source of calcium, an essential mineral that is important for building strong bones and teeth, and for the normal action of the heart and muscles.
Bok choy's history starts in China, where it's been cultivated for thousands of years. (Its name is Cantonese for "white vegetable.") Over the centuries, cooks have been using it as a flavorful, cabbage-like ingredient in soups, stews, salads and stir-frys.
As you might expect from its alias, "Chinese cabbage," bok choy is a member of the cabbage family. There are two main varieties: the Chinensis, which grows in leafy blades, and the Pekinensis (a.k.a. napa cabbage), which forms a round head. Also, keep in mind that the Romanized name bok choy has several alternate spellings, including bok choi, pak choi and pak choy.
When is Bok Choy in Season?
This leafy vegetable is at its peak in the summer, though its hardiness allows it to grow in the colder months too.
How to Choose Bok Choy
To pick Chinensis bok choy, browse through the produce section for a leafy vegetable that looks like a cross between spinach leaves (on top) and celery (on bottom). Good, fresh bok choy will have dark green leaves, a white bottom and no signs of wilting or mold.
How to Store Bok Choy
Keep bok choy like you would spinach or celery: in the veggie drawer of your fridge. Remember to wash it only when you're ready to cook with it.
How to Cook with Bok Choy
Like cabbage, bok choy tastes great raw, stewed, roasted or stir-fried. As an all-purpose vegetable, it can add a warm, brothy note to nearly any savory recipe. Prepping bok choy is a snap. First, wash the leaves and stalks in cold tap water. Using a sharp paring knife, cut away the root at its base, being careful to preserve as much of each crisp, white stalk as you can. These can be chopped or diced and tossed into soups and stir-frys. The same is true of the leaves, which also make a great addition to salads when left whole.
Most of the time, you'll be measuring your bok choy in cups (usually chopped or sliced).
Bok choy's flavor is light and delicious, similar to that of cabbage. Try swapping one for the other, or using fresh spinach in place of either. The beauty of bok choy is that it lets you experiment with all sorts of fresh, crisp flavor combos.
Bok Choy in Recipes
For a hot meal that's full of whole grains, you can steam bok choy and Chinese Vegetables with Brown Rice, then drizzle it with a tangy peanut-ginger sauce.
To really warm your soul, add bok choy to this Tofu Hot-and-Sour Soup and sip it from a small, hot tureen.
And polish off a spicy Asian dinner with these Shrimp Summer Rolls, which can be made crispier by wrapping them in napa cabbage instead of vermicelli.