I consider myself very lucky. Not only can I graze weekly at the Friday Fresh Farmers' Market at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Oakland, but I can also walk to a Thursday evening market in North Berkeley, a Saturday market in downtown Berkeley, BART to a Saturday market at the Ferry Building in San Francisco, or visit the small Kensington market or the Jack London Square market on Sundays. With all these options, there's always the distinct possibility of coming home with some kind of fruit or vegetable about which I know essentially nothing.
This week I will try to demystify bok choy. Bok choy, aka Chinese cabbage, is available as baby bok choy or adult bok choy. The lower half is bulbous and white with segments like the broad bottoms of celery stalks. The leaves are a rich green and fan out a bit. Really fresh bok choy simply looks fresh. I brought three heads home not knowing what would happen next.
I decided that a simple stir-fry would be a good way to learn how to use this vegetable. The first recipe I read said to cut the leaves into strips and save the "stems" for another time. Not being able to easily envision "another time", another book said to stir-fry the stems until they were green. But the stems were white. I thought maybe they meant the leaves which were already green. At this point, totally confused, I consulted the internet which said to use all of the bok choy — just that the leaves cooked in 2 minutes and the stems in 5 minutes. Now it was starting to make sense. It finally made sense when I stir-fried the white stems and they, magically, turned light green. Try this very simple and tasty stir fry as a side dish with fish.
- 3 heads bok choy, washed, stems and leaves cut into strips
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
- 2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
- Pepper to taste
In a wok or a skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Stir-fry the stems for about three minutes. They will start to turn green (making sense out of the various recipes). Add the leaves, garlic, and ginger. Stir-fry another 2 minutes. Toss with soy sauce and sesame oil. Season to taste. Remove with a slotted spoon.
Nutrition information (per serving)