How To Find, Choose, & Use

Bok Choy

Brassica rapa ssp. chinensis

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The Basics

  • What Is It?

    A leafy green member of the diverse Chinese cabbage group. Bok choy, while technically a Chinese cabbage, does not form heads, but instead forms bunches of long, thick stalks.

  • Seasonality

    Available YEAR-ROUND, but best in cool seasons.

  • Flavour Profile

    Mild; Green/Sweet/Bitter

  • Other Names

    Chinese cabbage, Chinese chard, Chinese mustard; bok choi or pak choy/choi (Cantonese transliterations commonly used in English); bái cài or yóu cài (Mandarin); qīng cài (Wu/Shanghainese).


How-To

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  • Find

    Chinese grocery stores and well-stocked conventional grocers; farmers markets and produce stands

  • Choose

    Fresh, vibrant bunches without wilting, holes, or damage. Note that bok choy is sold in several varieties and sizes, and that this may influence your decision-making.

  • Prep

    Difficulty: Low – Simply wash the leaves and stems in cold water, making sure to get in between the stalks where dirty can build up.

  • Use

    Can be eaten cooked or raw, the former being more common.

  • Store

    Short Term: Refrigerate
    Long Term: Blanch in boiling water, drain and rinse, then freeze.

Culinary Info

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  • Flavour Profile

    Green/Mild/Slightly Bitter Bok choy is versatile and relatively mild green vegetable with a somewhat mustard-like flavour.

  • Substitutions

    The different bok choy varieties (i.e. standard and Shanghai) are generally interchangeable, as is Tatsoi (Rosette Bok Choy). Chard is somewhat similar, though more watery. (see “Need More Detail?” below).

  • Cuisines

    Exceptionally important in Chinese cooking, and in East Asia in general. Bok choy has also become a fairly popular healthy green in the West (and in Asian-inspired Western cooking).

  • Flavour Pairings

    Bok choy is mild and versatile enough to use with a wide variety of dishes. Bold Asian sauces and flavours (e.g. soy sauce and garlic) are commonly used.

  • Varieties

    Bok choy is commonly found in two main varieties: the standard white-stemmed type, and Shanghai Bok Choy, which has emerald green stems. These two types are harvested at a variety of different ages and often marketed using size-specific names.

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  • Nutrition

    Extremely high in Vitamin C.
    For a full nutritional profile, click Need More Detail? below

  • Top-To-Tail

    The entire plant is generally eaten (with the exception of the roots. Leaves, stalks, and even flowers are all edible.

  • GMO Status

    Non-GMO

  • Health & Science

    – Extremely nutrient-dense and healthy.
    – Bok choy lacks the oxalate found in many other green veggies (e.g. spinach), making it more friendly to individuals with kidney stones, arthritis, and other related disorders.
    – Contain glucosinolates – chemical compounds linked to anti-cancer activity (see below for more information on this subject)

  • Organic vs. Conventional

    Both organic and conventionally grown bok choy is available, though availability may be vary between markets.

Bok Choy Recipes

Crispy Baked Tofu
with Seared Bok Choy

Five-Spice Crispy Tofu with Bok Choy

Garlic-Lemon Bok Choy &
Black Sesame Noodles

Garlic and Lemon Bok Choy with Black Sesame Noodles

How to Stir-Fry Chinese Greens

Universal Chinese Greens Part 1 - How to Stir-Fry

How To Braise Chinese Greens

Universal Chinese Greens Part 2 - How to Braise

How to Blanch and Dress Chinese Greens

Universal Chinese Greens Part 3 - How to Blanch and Dress

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