How to Cook Bok Choy

Beth Asaff
Bok choy

Sometimes known as Chinese cabbage, bok choy turns up constantly in things like stir fries and other Asian cuisines. This leafy member of the turnip family is fairly easy to cook, whether you want to try your hand at stir frying it yourself, or you want to try using it in other ways.

How to Stir Fry Bok Choy

Stir fry is one of the most common methods of preparing bok choy. Add it last when stir frying mixed foods because it cooks relatively quickly, or prepare it on its own.

  1. Cut or tear the leaves from the stems, separating them from the root.
  2. Heat a small amount of high-heat oil, like sesame seed oil, in a wok until sizzling. If you are preparing a classic stir fry, add some ginger or garlic and some onion to the pan and stir over high heat until fragrant.
  3. Add the bok choy to the wok; it may fill or even begin to overflow the pan. This is normal.
  4. Stir the bok choy quickly, flipping the vegetables from the bottom of the pan to the top to rotate them. Do not allow them to sit still in the pan, as this could cause some sections to burn.
  5. Continue quickly stirring the bok choy over high heat until the leaves are wilted and dark green in color. They will have shrunk considerably at this point.
  6. Remove from heat and serve immediately over rice.

How to Sauté Bok Choy

Sautéing is a cooking method similar in some respects to stir frying. You cook the food quickly over high heat, but in a frying pan, rather than a wok.

  1. Heat two tablespoons of vegetable oil in a frying pan until shimmering.
  2. Add a tablespoon of garlic to the pan and stir quickly until fragrant.
  3. Add the bok choy to the pan and carefully turn and fold it through the garlic with a pair of tongs until it's completely coated.
  4. Leave the pan alone for one minute, then begin stirring the bok choy, turning it carefully until the leaves are tender and dark green in color.

How to Steam Bok Choy

Steaming the bok choy is a very fast method of preparing the vegetable without adding any additional flavor or oil.

  1. Pour about two inches of water into the bottom of a vegetable steamer and set the basket on top.
  2. Place the bok choy in the basket and cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid.
  3. Turn the heat to high and allow the bok choy to steam undisturbed for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the lid carefully to avoid the steam and use tongs to remove the bok choy.

How to Oven Roast Bok Choy

Oven roasting vegetables helps to bring out their natural sweetness. Because bok choy is a leaf similar to cabbage, it roasts too quickly on its own. Therefore the use of a glaze will help it retain its moisture, while creating a caramelized finish.

  1. Slice the bok choy lengthwise into pieces and arrange them on a baking sheet.
  2. Mix together 1/4 cup brown sugar with 5 tablespoons soy sauce and brush over the bok choy.
  3. Roast in an oven preheated to 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Flip over the bok choy and brush with more glaze.
  4. Continue roasting for another 10 to 15 minutes when the edges of the bok choy are crisp and brown.

Dishes That May Include Bok Choy

Bok choy is a flavorful green that can be used in numerous dishes. It's fine on its own in salad, but you can also use it in place of greens like spinach or kale in dishes like:

Bok choy has a great flavor on its own as well; consider using it in more contemporary ways by adding it to dishes that wouldn't ordinarily feature it, like:

  • Wonton soup
  • Rice pilaf

Tips for Cooking with Bok Choy

If bok choy is a new vegetable to you, follow these tips to help make your dishes a success:

  1. Wash and drain the bok choy thoroughly, separating the leaves to ensure no grit gets trapped between them.
  2. Pull the leaves and stalks apart and slice the leaves off of the stalks. Both parts are edible, but they cook at different rates and may impart different flavors. You may choose to use only the leaves or both in any meal.
  3. Slice the stalks diagonally to cut them into pieces to impart as much flavor as possible.
  4. Cut or tear the leaves straight across. For easier cutting, stack the leaves on top of one another first.

Expand Your Culinary Horizons

Bok choy has a unique flavor that complements many different types of meals. Try adding it to any number of different dishes to savor its flavor in a whole new way.

How to Cook Bok Choy