It's time to learn to love bok choy
June 13, 2020 11:47 AM   Subscribe

There isn't a single vegetable I don't love, except bok choy. So of course my CSA is brimming with it. Please direct me to your delicious bok choy recipes that will make me wonder why I ever thought I didn't love it.
posted by HotToddy to Food & Drink (23 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
What don't you like about it and how has it been prepared? Since you say you like every other vegetable and bok choy is kind of mild/delicately flavored compared to other green leafy things, was it maybe overcooked? (I tend to sautee it.)
posted by needs more cowbell at 12:04 PM on June 13, 2020 [3 favorites]

Spice it up. I would eat almost any vegetable with chili peppers a little sugar, some toasted sesame oil. Probably not eggplant. Or lemon-garlic. Or soup. I have not made these, but have made similar with bok choy or napa cabbage. Now I am sad that I did not think of planting bok choy, but maybe it's not too late.
posted by theora55 at 12:05 PM on June 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

Definitely sesame. Sesame oil (a teeny bit goes a LONG way) and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Add to stir fry with other stuff.
posted by gryphonlover at 12:16 PM on June 13, 2020

Hah, i was in a similar boat w/my csa a number of years ago and then the head farmer gave me these two recipes which have become mainstays ever since.

Both are very simple and tasty.

Sheet pan bok choy
  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Cut bok choy lengthwise, put on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and pepper. Once oven comes to temp, bake for 7 or 8 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, mix 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp red wine vinegar, 1 TB soy sauce. If you have some sesame seeds you could toast them here too.
This next one is great because you can also add any random greens you might have from the CSA as well: beet greens, spinach, kale. I often have it for breakfast and it makes me feel like Popeye after eating it!

Eggs in a bok choy nest
  1. Separate the greens from the stems of your bok choy, doesn't have to be precise.
  2. Chop up stems roughly and throw into a pan with olive oil. You could throw some chopped up garlic in here too, or even shallots.
  3. After 2/3 minutes when the stems have softened, add a whole mess of your chopped greens and stir around. Add some salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Create a big mound of your greens, make two indentations and crack an egg into each one. Lower the heat and put a lid over the pan. A see-through glass lid is best so you can keep an eye on the state of the eggs. After 3 or 4 minutes they will be getting done and you can take them off the heat depending on your preference. I often dust them with smoked paprika at this point.

posted by jeremias at 12:17 PM on June 13, 2020 [12 favorites]

This is more of a "smother in tasty sauce" solution than a recipe to make you love all aspects of bok choy. Budget Bytes Thai Red Curry Soup is really good, and uses bok choy.
posted by Guess What at 12:17 PM on June 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

I like it sauteed with slices of ginger and garlic, a splash of stock, and a drizzle of soy sauce and sesame oil to finish it. Recently I tried it in a noodle stir fry, like this one but I made it vegetarian. Very tasty, I'll make that one again.
It does get slippery when overcooked, so maybe part of what you don't like is textural? Cutting it in slices rather than whole leaves seems to reduce this. I also prefer baby bok choy.
posted by arachnidette at 12:25 PM on June 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

How do you cook yu choy? I sometimes swap it for bok choy (and vice versa) and I think some preparations of yu choy lend itself well to bok choy. Anyway, for bok choy specific recipes, check out The Woks of Life. If you chop your bok choy in half you can use the garlic baby bok choy recipe!
posted by mayurasana at 12:27 PM on June 13, 2020

We make tteok with spicy pork and bok Choy and, even though we haven’t used Blue Apron for years, it was worth it just for this one recipe.
posted by lydhre at 12:40 PM on June 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

Also just plain sautéed bok choy with sesame oil, garlic, and ginger is always an outstanding side dish.
posted by lydhre at 12:41 PM on June 13, 2020 [3 favorites]

There's a recipe I have for yakisoba which I go to a lot that uses bok choy. I've since learned that the sauce is actually not what traditional yakisoba ACTUALLY is, but what I have is so tasty I don't care. It's a stir-fry of ground meat and bok choy, in a pretty standard sauce of soy sauce, a little soup stock, and oyster sauce thinned with some hot water, served over pan-fried Chinese noodles. It's simple, and you can even use the noodle cake from cheap ramen packs as the noodles.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:42 PM on June 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: To answer a few questions, I find it bland and watery and texturally uninteresting compared to yu choy or even baby bok choy. Maybe I need to start thinking of this quality as "delicate and mildly flavored."
posted by HotToddy at 12:58 PM on June 13, 2020

There's probably a reason that bok choy is usually arranged neatly around a mound of red cooked pork or other very flavorful food.

My suggestion: make sure you cut it up small enough? Having to bite through the fibers usually doesn't bring me any enjoyment, so I cut it into inch-long sections. Then do what lydhre said, on high heat -- with high enough heat, even electric stovetops can get a little bit of wok smoke flavor. Add dried tiny shrimp if you can get it.
posted by batter_my_heart at 1:39 PM on June 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

I got take out bok choy a few weeks ago that was grilled and we couldn't believe how good it was. Unfortunately I don't have the recipe but try finding a recipe to grill it and give it a shot. It got a great charred smoky flavor with way more depth than I was expecting. Seriously we were all like "THIS is BOK CHOY?!"
posted by potrzebie at 1:42 PM on June 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

It's surprisingly good air fried. Definitely not watery after that. Or grilled over hot charcoal so it's infused with the smoke flavor.

You can also mandolin it and then stir fry it or use it like you would cabbage.
posted by Candleman at 2:01 PM on June 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

Pan fry (or wok it) with an absolute shit ton of garlic and a drop of balsamic. This is not a moment for delicate seasonings.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:11 PM on June 13, 2020 [1 favorite]

This recipe by Maangchi converted me from a bok choy tolerator to a bok choy enthusiast! I often use miso instead of the doenjang the recipe calls for.
posted by little mouth at 3:23 PM on June 13, 2020

I rather like bok choy, and all of these recipes on the BBC Good Food website sound good to me (NB it's pak choi in the UK); but what I usually do with it when I have some is to cut it into bite-size pieces and chuck it into a spicy noodle soup a minute or two before serving. Cooked that lightly, it keeps its crunch, which provides a nice contrast to the noodles.

The soup I make for this involves chicken stock, lemongrass, crushed chilli, ginger, garlic, spring onions (scallions), coriander (cilantro), and either prawns (shrimp) or cooked chicken, depending on what I've got on hand: you simmer the spices in the stock till it tastes good to you, then strain it and add the spring onions, protein of choice and pak choi for a minute or two to heat through, and add the coriander as a garnish after you've served it over the noodles.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 3:40 PM on June 13, 2020

I find it bland and watery and texturally uninteresting compared to yu choy or even baby bok choy.

True that. It occurs to me that most of my bok choy usage consists of "it is one of several ingredients that I throw into catch-all, multi-vegetable things like lo mein or ramen or fried rice" - you know, "I need vegetables in this, lemme round out the carrot and celery with some bok choy since I have it."

So, hell, maybe just do that. If you're making some kind of stir-fry from scratch, throw in a little bok choy with everything else. If you're making ramen or some other noodle soup, chop up a little and add that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:30 PM on June 13, 2020

Lay down a bed of it in a baking dish and layer on some chicken thighs or pork chops, the fat in those will run down on those greens and give them some flavor.
posted by 445supermag at 4:50 PM on June 13, 2020

I toss a bunch of it loosely chopped in (packet) Tom Yum soup for a bit of greenery. The soup temperature wilts it and it tastes pretty good.
posted by b33j at 7:46 PM on June 13, 2020

I really like this bok choy slaw. Its actually quite nice raw! Very crisp and sweet.
posted by ananci at 8:35 PM on June 13, 2020

You can also make it into (or add it as a component to) kimchi!
posted by ITheCosmos at 4:55 AM on June 14, 2020

Peanut sauce.

This goes for everything you want to enjoy eating but don't yet. Peanut sauce that shizz and don't look back.
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:59 AM on June 15, 2020

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