Posts Tagged ‘Bok choy’


Cabbage is, I think, a kinda orphan vegetable.  Chefs use a few leaves to make all types of roulades in the winter and almost everyone has a favorite summertime coleslaw, but otherwise it is just always there in the produce section pleading for cooks to do something wonderful with it.  I have to admit that Asian cooks embrace its many guises and there are so many varieties that you would think that all kinds of cooks would have fun devising dishes that use it.  Red, green, Savoy, Napa, Bok Choy (you can hunt up a number of posts about it), even Brussels Sprouts.  I’ve posted about Stuffed Cabbage (April 2011) which, again, uses only few outer leaves, but I use it far more frequently as a side for grilled or roasted meats.  Here’s what I do.
I thinly slice the leaves – just as you would do for coleslaw – then I sauté it in butter, brown sugar, and orange juice – a lot of the first and just a tad of sugar and oj.  Sometimes, I just toss and turn it until it is slightly wilted, season with salt and pepper, and get it right to the table and sometimes I cover it and let it melt over very low heat.  Sometimes I season with caraway seeds, sometimes a touch of smoked paprika, sometimes with a good dose of vinegar.  In each disguise, the cabbage holds its own and adds unexpected depth as an accompaniment to an everyday grilled chop.



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Some time ago I did a vegan cookbook proposal for a terrific New Zealand chef, Michael Waffelbaker, which you can view under “Cookbook Ideas.”  In it was a recipe that has become one of Steve’s favorite meals.  I’m not a lover of tofu so I usually make it when I am in diet mode with a large salad for myself.  But, since Steve says it is so delicious, I thought we should share the recipe with all of you.


3 heads bok choy

1⅓ pounds shiitake mushrooms

1 cup homemade vegetable stock or canned vegetable broth 

1 tablespoon cornstarch

½ cup light soy sauce 

1 tablespoon light brown sugar 

One 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 pounds extra firm tofu, well-drained and cut into ¾-inch cubes

1 tablespoon sesame oil

3 small hot chiles such as bird or Serrano, stemmed, seeded, and minced or to 


3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced


Wash and dry the bok choy.  Using a sharp knife, cut the root end from each head.  If the leaves are larger than 2-inches wide cut them in half.  Set aside.

Trim the stems from the shiitakes and wipe the mushrooms clean.  (Save the stems for stocks.)  Depending upon their size, cut each one into quarters or halves so that each piece is relatively equal in size.  Set aside.

Combine ½ cup of the stock with the cornstarch in a small bowl, stirring to dissolve.  Set aside.

Combine the remaining ½ cup of the stock with the soy sauce and brown sugar in a medium large saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the ginger and bring to a boil.  Immediately whisk in the reserved cornstarch mixture and cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes or until thick.  Remove from the heat and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.  Add the tofu and fry, turning about every 30 seconds, for about 4 minutes or until golden on all sides.  Using a slotted spatula, transfer the tofu to a double layer of paper towel to drain.

With the sauté pan still on medium-high heat, add the sesame oil.  When hot, add the reserved mushrooms and sauté for 2 minutes.  Add the bok choy, chiles, and garlic and sauté for 1 minute.  Stir in the reserved tofu along with the soy-ginger sauce and cook for about 1 minute or just until blended and hot.

Remove from the heat and spoon equal portions into each of six large, shallow soup bowls.  Serve immediately.



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Lately I seem to be on a bok choy kick, but who could resist this absolutely flowery bunch of purple bok choy that found its way into the kitchen?   I was going to incorporate it into some fried rice but decided it was just too pretty to not stand on its own.  So, I cut it into pieces and quickly sautéed it in a bit of grapeseed oil and butter, seasoned it with salt and pepper, and cooked it just until it wilted.  I added a good measure of ponzu sauce that I found in the fridge, gave it a toss, and served it up as a side to soft shell crab sandwiches we had made from our leftovers.  A simple, easy, and very tasty dish.

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Even with its wide availability, bok choy seems to only find a home in Asian dishes.  Either mature or baby, this mild, slightly sweet veg always gets its delicate flavor covered up with garlic, ginger, or Asian sauces, including too much soy.  I try to treat it with respect and let its sweet, little-bit crunchy self shine.  This recipe serves 4 hungry or 6 sensible people.

            6 heads baby bok choy

            ½ cup chicken stock or low-sodium, nonfat chicken broth

            1 teaspoon orange juice concentrate

            2 tablespoons butter

            Salt and white pepper to taste

Thoroughly wash and drain the bok choy.  Trim off the dry root end and split each one in half, lengthwise.  Double check that all dirt and sand has been rinsed out.  If not, place under cold, running water and rinse well.  Pat dry. Lay the bok choy, cut side down, in a large frying pan.

Combine the stock and orange juice concentrate and pour the mixture over the bok choy.  Place over medium heat.

Cut the butter into pieces and randomly place it over the veggie.  Season with salt and pepper, cover, and cook for about 6 minutes or until the bok choy is still a bit firm and fresh looking.

Remove from the heat and transfer the bok choy to a serving platter.  Taste the pan juices and, if necessary, season with additional salt and pepper.  Drizzle the pan juices over the top and serve.

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