Bok choy, also known as leafy Chinese cabbage , is one of the popular vegetable in mainland China, Philippines, Vietnam and other East-Asian regions. At the same time, this humble Brassica family leafy-vegetable has captured attention of the western world for its sweet, succulent nutritious leaves and stalks.
Scientific name: Brassica campestris L. (Chinensis group). It is also recognized by several local dialects in the East Asian countries as pe-tsai, pak choi, petsay, white-celery mustard, Chinese white cabbage.
In structure, bok choy resembles collards, and could be described as a non-heading cabbage (Acephala group). It is a small plant which grows upright from the ground surface with smooth white romaine lettuce like stalks, which spread at its top to fine, glossy green, oval or round leaves. Fully grown-up bok choy may reach about 12-18 inches in height.
Selection and storage
Although bok choy can be available year-round, however, it is at its best during the winter season. In the markets, buy fresh harvest featuring firm stalks and dark green crispy flavorful leaves. Avoid slump plant with leaves wilted and lost their luster.
Once at home store whole pak choi (bok-choy) in vegetable compartment inside the refrigerator, set at high relative humidity. If stored appropriately, it stays fresh for upto 3-4 days without loss of much of nutrients. However, pak choi is more nutritious, sweeter, and flavorful when used fresh.
Preparation and serving methods
Trim off at its base and remove outer discolored leaves. Wash whole vegetable in cold water. Gently pat dry or place it upside down until all the water drained out.
To prepare, separate outer stalks from the base using a paring knife and slice whole plant in equal halves lengthwise. Then, chop from the stem end about an inch apart and work towards its leafy end. Add it into a variety of recipes, either combined with other vegetables or enjoy all alone in stir-fry or soup.
Here are some of the preparation tips:
Bok choy stir-fry with ginger, garlic, soy sauce and a bit of chili paste.
Crispy, sweet bok choy stalks can be eaten raw, added to salads, sandwiches, and burgers.
Its stalks can be mix well with cabbage in coleslaw.
Baby bok choy can be a very attractive addition to salads and stir-fries.
in korean peninsula, it is employed much like napa cabbage in the preparation of "bok-choy kimchi".
In China and other East Asian regions, it is used much like cabbage in stew fries with added onion, garlic, bell pepper, and green chillies mixed with steamed rice and soy/chilli/tomato sauce to prepare chowmein.
Pak choi is one of the wonderful vegetables used generously in modern-day recipes like stir fries, soups, stuffing…etc.