Bok choy is a variety of Chinese cabbage that is just recently in season here in New York. Bok Choy in Cantonese literally means “white vegetable,” and although it is a part of the cabbage family, its form is quite different from the typical savoy or napa cabbage varieties .
Bok choy has a cluster of white stems that become tender, flat green leaves. In cooking, I think it behaves most like chard, although its stems are not as tough.
There are many more varieties of bok choy available in Asia, but here you’ll most often see green baby bok choy and larger bok choy. I have also seen some lovely red bok choy at the market, which has a slightly purple hue on the fronts of its leaves.
Buying & Preparation: Purchase bok choy that has bright, firm leaves, and wash thoroughly between the tightly packed stems before cooking. Quite a bit of grit can hang out in there.
Cooking: Bok choy can be eaten raw or cooked, although baby bok choy is best suited for raw preparations. When cooking, it wilts quickly like spinach or other tender greens, and can be stir fried, added to soups, or roasted.
Because of its Chinese origins, bok choy is most often cooked with Asian flavors like soy, ginger, and garlic.
Onward, to bok choy week.