Bok Choy or Pak Choi in Cantonese literally means “white vegetable”. Although the name is loosely used here for a variety of Chinese leafy vegetables, it is synonymous to the white stalk vegetable with dark crinkly leaves to the Chinese. They come in full-size and baby varieties. Surprisingly, the full-size variety is a mainstay at the local grocery stores. The tender baby variety is more valued and can usually be found at the Asian markets.
Bok Choy is available year round. Always select plants with white firm stalks free of spots. The leaves from full-sized bok choy should be separated from the thick stalks which have a longer cooking time. The baby variety may be left whole after the ends are trimmed. This Stir Fry Bok Choy can be cooked using either variety. When given a choice, I always go for the baby variety as they are sweeter and more tender.
Deep fried tofu is often used in stir fries. They are also a nice addition to soups and curries. They provide protein and a kind of “meatiness” to the dish. Deep fried tofu comes in packages and are easily available at the refrigerated section of any Asian grocery store. I usually keep a few packages in the freezer. They can be thawed very quickly on the counter when needed.
Bok choy releases a lot of liquid when cooked. They should be rinsed and well drained. Use a salad spinner if needed. If you do not have a wok, use a large pan with plenty of room for the bok choy to be move around. Make sure the pan is sufficiently hot before adding the vegetables and do have all ingredients required on hand as a stir fry is done in minutes.
- 1 lb (450g) full-size or baby bok choy
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1½ inch ginger, peeled and cut into thin slices
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 oz deep fried tofu, sliced (optional)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp corn starch mixed with 2 tbsp water
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- Wash and drain baby bok choy thoroughly. Trim ½ inch off the end of the stalks. Smaller leaves can be left whole with their stems. Longer leaves can be cut into two with the leaves on one end and the stem on the other end. Then cut stem into 2 length wise. Stems and leaves should preferably be separated.
- Heat a wok or large pan. When it is hot, add vegetable oil. Sauté ginger for about 1 minute. Stir in garlic for 30 seconds. Add the baby bok choy stems and fried tofu (if using). Fry for about 2 minutes.
- Now, add the rest of the baby bok choy and soy sauce. Stir fry for 1 to 2 minutes. Baby bok choy leaves should be wilted but still crunchy. Pour in cornstarch mixture. Stir to combine for another 1 to 2 minutes. Corn starch mixture will thicken. Turn off heat.
- Drizzle sesame oil over vegetables.
- Remove and serve immediately.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!