Bok Choy help!!
So I bought Bok choy for the first time to use in a stir fry....Not sure how to prep it. Instincts tell me not to cook the whole leaf at the same time do to the inconsistencies in the texture between the stalk and the leaf. I also read somewhere that the stalks are good chopped in salads. Help!!
I just slice the bok choy across the leaf portion into strips (the short way), and then slice the white stems into thinner strips as well, but only the tender parts, if you're not using baby bok choy.
Your instincts are right - I usually slice the leaves crosswise (as Irostron says) but separate the greens from the tougher white part. Cook the whites first 'cause they take longer and toss in the greens at the end. I usually stirfy it up in a tiny bit of peanut oil and add a drizzle of sesame oil and soy sauce - maybe a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds. But it's great in a lot of recipes - very mild and adaptable. Enjoy!
For a "quick and dirty" side dish, I sliced a few leaves across 4 times, microwaves the thick ends just a few seconds (probably unnecessary), and very quickly stir-fried (also just 15-20 seconds) adding oyster sauce.
A delicious side - should have used a bit of cornstarch to thicken, though, as they released more liquid than I liked.
If you can find it, buy baby bok choi. Each one is only about 4-6 inches in length. No need to separate green from white. I just cut it in half or quarters vertically, wash it and braise it in the water that adheres, plus a very sparse amount of oil, some fresh chopped ginger, garlic and either hoisin or black bean sauce. A drizzle of sesame oil at the end, if I'm in the mood.
FYI there is a great Asian Veggies section in Fine Cooking for March - just got it yesterday and it had lots of good tips for bok choy and other veggies.
Yongerman is absolutely right. there's actually a few different sizes of bok choi. From the gigantic ones at Safeway to mid size, and then the baby ones. large size ones are under $1 per pound, while the baby sized ones (less then 2-3 inches in length) are around $1.75 per pound. The baby ones to me, taste more "sweet" and fresh, but they are all good.
Just do a good washing near the stalk cause that's where most of the dirt are trapped. All the above suggestions are great, you can mince some fresh garlic, fry it in oil first before adding the bok choy. Add whatever seasoning (soy or oyster sauce, wine, chilli sauce) when the veggie is almost done (imho).
The secret ingredient though is...........sugar. Try it, and see how it turns out w/ or w/o some shhhhugar.