ORIGINAL RECIPE: Cooking method from World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey, and sauce from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison*
TIMING: As long as it takes to boil the water, basically. The actual cook time is 5 minutes
DIFFICULTY: It’s simple and fast, but timing is very important
TOOLS: A wok and a spider, at least ideally
COOK TYPE: Stovetop (blanching and stir-frying)
HEALTH: A veggie side with little else besides crucifers and alliums… well, you can’t really go wrong there, unless for some terrible reason you can’t have soy sauce. You could use Bragg’s Amino Acids, I suppose.
EXPERIENCE: We belong to a farm co-op and they leave a box of veggies on our front porch once per week. The past week’s box included bok choy and the current box arrived with baby bok choy so I figured I better work something out. The problem was, I had already been to my cookbooks and there were not many recipes–and no side dish recipes–for bok choy. So, I scoured a few books and found a cooking technique in one and a simple sauce in another.
We will be using this again, I am sure.
NOTES: Blanching almost always scares me away from a recipe because it feels like a whole huge extra step (and pan!). But it’s really not the huge of a deal. Set the pot to boil and get busy with your main dish. When it boils, come back to this like-5 minute side.
- In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil, and 1 tablespoon finely sliced scallion. Set aside.
- Bring a rather large pot of water to a boil. Slice 1 large bunch of bok choy into 1/2 inch slices on the bias (trimmed whites and greens). Drop the bok choy into the boiling water, reduce heat to keep it gentle, and leave for 1 minute.
- When the water has almost come to a boil, heat 1 tablespoon peanut or safflower oil in a wok over high heat. Add 1 thin-sliced shallot and stir-fry for 1 minute. Once the bok choy is being blanched, add 2 sliced cloves of garlic and stir. Quickly, remove the bok choy from the water with a spider (or a slotted spoon) and place in the wok. Stir fry until bok choy whites are crisp-tender.
- Pour the sauce over the bok choy, stir for another minute, then serve.
Serve with any sort of Asian food, especially East Asian, like Chinese. As a very light meal, you could just serve with rice.
*Recipe changed from the original.