“Gimme bok choy and I don’t care…Gimme bok choy and I don’t care…” “Bok, bok, bok-in on heaven’s door…” These are just a couple of anthems that echoed through my kitchen this past Sunday. Fortunately, my husband appreciates – or at least forgives – my quirky sense of humor and less than dandy singing voice.
So, yes, I’m a pretty big fan of bok choy. This Asian variety of cabbage, sometimes referred to as “Chinese chard,” is more mainstream than ever, with year-round and widespread availability at grocery stores and farmers markets nationwide. And, its growing popularity is with good reason: Consumption of cruciferous vegetables, as part of a healthy diet, is linked to reduced rates of cancer, including lung, colon, prostate, and endometrial cancers. Additionally, bok choy’s flavor is relatively mild compared to its siblings, such as brussels sprouts and broccoli, making it an attractive vegetable candidate to serve even the fussiest eaters.
Bok choy’s slender head of leafy stalks is characterized by firm white stems and bright green leaves. Upon cooking, the naturally stringy and celery-like stems transform and become impeccably tender, the crisp leaves succumb to the heat and gracefully wilt, and the green hue is shifted into overdrive. I like to use the dwarf variety, baby bok choy, because (a) let’s be honest, they’re pretty damn cute and (b) the required chopping is minimal, allowing you to maintain that curvaceously sexy and defining shape of this veggie.
Here’s a an uber quick and fresh-tasting recipe for an effortlessly delish weeknight side. Or, as in my case this weekend, you might become so taken with the ginger-garlic melded flavor that you make an entire meal out of it…
Baby Bok Choy With Ginger & Garlic
3 heads of baby bok choy
2 Tbsp. sesame oil
1-inch of ginger, peeled and grated
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and grated
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
Rinse bok choy with cool water and pat dry. Carefully slice each head into lengthwise halves and set aside. Heat oil in a large wok over medium heat. Add ginger and garlic and saute for 1 minute, stirring constantly and careful not to burn. Add bok choy and salt to wok and cook, flipping once, approximately seven minutes or until desired tenderness. Turn off heat, stir in sesame seeds, and serve immediately.
A couple notes:
- The ginger-garlic brown bits in this dish are the best, but they can easily turn too dark and bitter if you fail to keep a watchful eye on that heat. I know from experience… Mind your stove, people.
- I use this grater and love it. Something magical happens when you grate garlic, as opposed to mincing and slicing – maybe because it gets into every corner of the dish? Who knows, but lately it’s been my go-to technique for garlic prep when sauteeing with veggies.