How to Cook Bok Choy for Maximum Nutrition and Flavor
Here are two simple and healthy ways to use bok choy (also known as pak choi) in your meals. If you’ve never cooked with it before you’ll find it’s a great base for many recipes.
Best of all, bok choy is very good for you and, when made up like one of these easy Asian inspired recipes, very tasty as well.
Simple Steamed Bok Choy with Ginger and Sesame Oil
Boiling any healthy greens like this will destroy some of their nutrition (and taste as well) so I prefer to steam bok choy using the method I’ll share ahead.
You can use any combination of condiments you like to add extra flavor, but ginger, chili, garlic and sesame go particularly well.
If you don’t have a steamer saucepan, a universal steamer is an inexpensive investment for better long term health. Most vegetables can be cooked in this healthier way by steaming them rather than boiling away much of their flavor and nutrients.
- 1 bok choy, preferably organic.
- A small piece of ginger, finely chopped.
- Tamari fermented soy sauce.
- Sesame oil.
- To begin, slice off the tougher base where all the stems join and cut it in half lengthwise. Separate the leaves out and wash them well or soak them in hot water and vinegar.
- Cut them across in the size you’d like to eat them in. If you’re making them with other veggies then smaller can be better to get a contrast of flavors.
- Bring to the boil around an inch of water in your saucepan, add the chopped bok choy to your steamer and put a lid on it to keep the heat in.
- I keep the green leaves till right at the end as they really don’t need much steaming time. You can also steam other veggies like broccoli and carrots at the same time, though they will need at least 5 minutes longer than bok choy so start with them first.
- Once they’re ready, shake out the steamer over the sink and transferred the steamed pak choi and any other vegetables to a mixing bowl.
- Chopped bok choy usually steams in around 2 minutes so I’ll add the green leaves in the last 30 seconds or so. You don’t want to cook them for too long and have them go soggy. A little crunch with the initial softness is better.
- There’s a variety of flavors you could add here but a simple one I like is to drizzle a little sesame oil, a dash of tamari and some finely chopped fresh ginger over the top and mix it well. Steamed bok choy done like this is quick to make and a great tasting side serve for your lunch or dinner.
Lightly Stir Fried Bok Choy with Garlic, Chili and Sesame
I’m a big believer in cooking nutrient rich vegetables like bok choy lightly and on a low heat to retain as many beneficial compounds as possible. Vitamin C in particular is lost when veggies are boiled or cooked at high temperatures.
This method for stir frying bok choy may well be the last step of a more elaborate stir fry. They don’t need a lot of cooking time so you can have other ingredients almost ready before you start with it.
Bok choy goes well with most savory foods as it tends to really take on the flavor of whatever it’s cooked with. With the rest of your stir fry nearly finished, I’d suggest following this recipe for just the last 2 minutes.
Feel free to change up the extras to whatever suits your meal, but this combination is one of my favorites to eat.
- 1 bok choy, preferably organic or well washed.
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed.
- 1 small chili, seeds removed and finely sliced or chili flakes to taste.
- 1 heaped teaspoon of sesame seeds.
- 1 heaped tablespoon of organic coconut oil.
- Start by chopping off the tougher base of the bok choy and slicing it in half lengthwise. This should make it easier to wash the leaves well under warm water.
- If you haven’t been able to find organic bok choy, it can be a good idea to also soak it in hot water with a little vinegar. Once it’s clean, drain the pak choi and press dry.
- Now chop it into the size you’d like to eat it in. I like to chop diagonally around an inch wide. I also keep the green leaves aside at first to use right at the end as they cook very quickly.
- Add the coconut oil to a large pan or wok, preferably with a lid, and let it warm up on a low heat. There’s really no need for super hot smoking oil with this recipe.
- Once the oil is well warmed, add the sesame seeds, garlic and chili. Stir and add the chopped bok choy stems. Mix these in well, coating them with the garlic, chili and sesame infused coconut oil.
- After just half a minute, I’ll add the chopped green leaves. Stir again and cover the pan with a lid for half a minute more. This gives the effect of steaming the bok choy a little as well, cooking it in less time and with less heat.
- Spoon the seasoned greens out of your pan and into serving bowls to enjoy immediately.
If you come up with some healthy variations on this or the method for steaming bok choy above, or have any other good ways you like to enjoy it, then please share it in the comments below.