Stir Fried Baby Bok Choy

Stir Fried Baby Bok Choy

Stir fried bok choy must be among the most iconic dishes on Chinese restaurant menus.  However, unfortunately, it is often deeply disappointing — limp and overly saucy.  The good news is that this is one of the easiest Chinese dishes to prepare in your own kitchen.  The ingredient list is minimal and the cooking takes mere minutes.

If you’ve never eaten bok choy, you’re in for a real treat.  This cruciferous vegetable is incredibly mild, low in calories, and nutritionally dense.

A cup of raw bok choy contains a mere 9 calories.  However, its nutritional content includes:

  • 62% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, and
  • 52% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.

So, bok choy is a very healthy addition to your family’s diet.

The Cookbook

Despite having had so many terrible plates of stir fried bok choy in the past, I was inspired to try this recipe by The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen: Classic Family Recipes for Celebration and Healing, by Grace Young.  This book, which is part family memoir, part tribute to an extraordinary cuisine, appealed to me because of the author’s Cantonese heritage.

My paternal aunt’s family was also Cantonese, and I have numerous fond memories of her delicious Chinese home cooking.  I hoped this cookbook would help me achieve similar success, as well as give me a clearer understanding of my aunt’s culinary traditions.

I wasn’t disappointed.  The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen: Classic Family Recipes for Celebration and Healing has given me several golden tips which I am already applying successfully at home.

For instance, Ms. Young explains that in a Chinese home you are likely to see washed vegetables set out to dry hours before the cooking begins.  It doesn’t matter that the vegetables may wilt slightly, because your stir fries will improve immeasurably by applying this simple rule.  If you wash vegetables right before cooking, they remain damp.  Thus, the vegetables steam and overcook when you stir fry them.

The Wisdom of the Chinese Kitchen: Classic Family Recipes for Celebration and Healing contains a wide variety of recipes — from advanced dishes calling for exotic ingredients to simple stir fries.  If you have an interest in learning more about Chinese culinary traditions, this book is an excellent place to start.

As a food stylist, Ms. Young has a nuanced understanding of occidental cuisine.  However, she is honest enough to share her challenges with certain Chinese cooking techniques.  This candor encourages the reader to push his or her own boundaries and try new things.

Even if you don’t plan on trying the recipes, this autobiographical work makes fascinating reading.  However, stir fried bok choy is so easy to prepare that it would be a shame not to try!  Bon appétit!


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