soggy v belly pain-y. spare me from my bok choi preparing self
it seems that all i know how to do with bok choi is 1) high heat --> yummy leaves, inadequately cooked stems, and belly pain; or 2) separate stems/leaves, some water in the pan --> stemmy sog. please help. what do you do that's simple, delicious and not a textural disaster? thanks.
seperate stems from leaves - saute stems at high heat with sliced garlic and ginger (no liquid) until stems and garlic begin to brown - add VERY LITTLE WATER and cover tightly to allow stems to steam for a minute or two - remove lid to allow water to fully evaporate and add desired seasonings - add leaves and continue to stirfry until greens collapse and darken - serve immediately
The very best way I know to avoid that is to buy baby bok choi or shanghai choi, where the smaller stems will be perfectly tender when the leaves are done but not too wilted. (I'm lucky enough to live around the corner from a Chinese shop which always has both in ready supply!)
Failing that, I tediously separate the thicker parts of the stems from the leaves and begin sauteeing the stems first, adding the leaves when the stems start to get tender.
I got this tip from James Oseland's "Cradle of Flavor", which has a great recipe/technical procedure for sauteeing Asian greens - couldn't find it online, but worth checking out from the library or in a bookshop.
In brief, you get a big heavy pot very hot with a splash of neutral oil, add in some garlic cloves smashed with the blade of a chef's knife, sliced up red chillies, and a pinch of salt when the oil shimmers, and as soon as the garlic begins to get golden, add the stems, and when the stems begin to get tender, add the leaves. How much oil? Well, just enough so that the greens don't stick to the pot - I use 1-2 tbsp depending on how much I am sauteeing. The end product is not oily, but the lightly garlic-seasoned oil adds a good taste.
He also recommends taking the greens out of the pot and spreading them out on a platter as soon as the leaves are done to prevent sogginess and overcooking - a bit of a pain but it really makes a difference!
If I want just plain steamed greens, I haul out my steamer. Also a pain, but the end product is less soggy than the pot-steaming method.
We love bok choi and cook it often. Here's what we do:
Cut off the root end, just enough to separate the leaves,
Separate the the stems and slice the leaves from the stems,
Rinse in many waters till all the sand is gone.
Slice the stems into one inch - 1/2 rounds,
Stack the leaves and slice them into thin ribbons.
Mince 3 or 4 cloves of garlic & peel and mince a knob of ginger.
Add peanut oil to a wok and add garlic & ginger,
Turn heat to med-high and let the garlic and ginger come to a sizzle... when aromatic add stems, stir fry for about 1 minutes turning to coat with the oil.
Add the sliced leaves and stir-fry another minute or so.
Add 1/4 cup of broth, cover and steam for about a minute or till the white stems are soft.
Uncover, season with soy sauce or salt and let the liquid evaporate a little.
Since we like spicy, we add a 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes too.
Drizzle with a bit of sesame oil.... Done.