Baby Bok Choy Stir Fry
Mark Twain said cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education, but he might have been talking about bok choy, which I think of as cabbage that went to college in Asia. Baby Bok Choy, a variety of Chinese cabbage, offers eaters both silky mild greens with a subtle taste and crunch. It is shockingly good when fresh from the field. And, of course, it marries beautifully into the classic family of Asian flavors—ginger, soy, sesame oil, and scallions. Last year I grew too much boy choy, so this year I skipped it, then, of course, missed it this fall. So I picked up a bunch of three medium heads from Crista Stosiek of Markristo Farm. I knew it would come in handy when there wasn’t much in the house, now that my garden is pretty much finished, except for my hearty herbs (hence, the recipe’s use of chives.) A snap to make, this tasty dish is fresh tasting and healthy, combining the fresh veggies and whole grains we’re supposed to feast on. I like to cook the pasta while I’m wokking up the bok choy so it all comes together at once.
—Amy Cotler, The Locavore Way (Storey Publishing)
Baby Bok Choy Stir Fry
2 very generous main courses or 4 side dishes.
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon or so grated ginger*
1 or so tablespoons any oil without a strong taste
1-1/4 pounds or about 4 - 5 baby bok choy
8 ounces buckwheat (soba) noodles
1/4 cup sliced scallion greens or chives
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 generous pinch of hot chili pepper flakes
Salt to taste
1. Put about 3 quarts of water on to boil.
2. Add the garlic, ginger and oil to the bottom of a wok. Slice the bok choy, both the green and white part, into 1-inch pieces, or cut into long thin strips, as you wish. Rinse in a colander.
3. Heat the oil over high heat, stirring it once or twice to prevent burning. Immediately, add the rinsed bok choy, without worrying if a little water is still clinging to it. Stir continuously, until the greens are wilted and the cabbagey part is hot and a little softer, but still crunchy, about 5 minutes.
4. Add the pasta to the lightly boiling water. Cook until soft but not mushy, about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Drain.
5. Immediately, add the cooked noodles to the wok, along with the scallions or chives, sesame oil, soy, hot chili pepper flakes. Mix well and add salt if needed.
* Tip: Fresh ginger doesn’t keep well, but I love to have it around when I need it. So I freeze it and grate it while it’s frozen. Barbara Tropp, the Chinese food maven, gave me permission not to peel ginger anymore, but you can if you wish.