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!


Stir Fried Baby Bok Choy

Stir Fried Baby Bok Choy |
Jeanette Marie
Rate this recipe
3 ratings
Save Recipe Save to BigOven
Prep Time:  10 minutes - Cook Time:  5 minutes Servings:  4

This 15 minute stir fried bok choy is packed with both flavor and nutrition. A perfect addition to a weeknight supper.

  • 450 g baby bok choy
  • 2 1/4 cm thick slices ginger, peeled
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 3 teaspoons peanut oil
    For the sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons light soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

  1. Remove the larger leaves from the baby bok choy. Wash it in several changes of water until all the grit and grime is removed. Set aside and allow to dry thoroughly. (You could also spin it in a salad spinner to speed up the drying time.)
  2. Cut 1/2 cm (1/4 in) off the base of the baby bok choys. Cut the larger leaves in half down the center. Stack them and cut them into 5 cm (2 in) pieces. Cut the hearts of the baby bok choy into quarters lengthwise.
  3. Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl, stirring thoroughly to dissolve the cornstarch. Set aside.
  4. Heat your wok (or a large skillet) over high heat until hot, but not smoking.
  5. Add half the oil and the ginger. Stir fry for about 10 seconds, or until the ginger is fragrant.
  6. Add the remaining oil to the pan, along with the bok choy and the garlic.
  7. Stir fry for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the leaves are barely limp and the bok choy is still bright green.
  8. Give the sauce a final stir and pour it into the wok, stirring vigorously for another minute or two, just until the sauce has thickened slightly and coats the vegetables.
  9. Serve immediately.

This recipe comes together very quickly and will be spoiled if it is overcooked. Thus, it is absolutely essential that you prepare everything before you begin cooking.

If you choose to double the recipe, cook it in two batches. Overcrowding the wok will adversely affect the recipe and undoubtedly result in overcooking at least some of the vegetable.

Oyster sauce is available in many grocery stores and at Asian markets.

Nutrition label for Stir Fried Baby Bok Choy

1 thought on “Stir Fried Baby Bok Choy”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.