We all need a good go-to green vegetable side dish to go with any main course, and this stir-fried bok choy recipe is a great candidate. It’s one of the easiest recipes we have on the blog, once you learn a few basics that make your stir-fried veggies stand out from all the others.
For this bok choy recipe, we used the larger variety that you can find at most regular grocery stores. Check out our Chinese vegetables and leafy greens page, where you can get more details on the differences between varieties and other bok choy recipes.
This recipe makes a family-size portion, but feel free to cut the recipe in half for fewer people. Always remember that veggies cook down quite a lot, so 2 pounds of raw bok choy isn’t as much as it sounds.
How to Cook Bok Choy
Ok, a couple of important notes on how to cook bok choy:
1. Wash your veggies thoroughly! Bok choy loves to grow in sandy soil, and one of the worst things that can happen with this dish is to find that when you’re scooping the bok choy out of the wok, you hear this horrifying sound of the metal spatula scraping against sand! You’ll also want to rinse away any pesticide residue. Always wash your veggies!
2. Start with a good quality oil. Canola oil is a good choice, but even light olive oil works nicely. In general, you just want to use a neutral oil. Don’t be shy about using it either, as it makes your veggies taste great! Like salad dressing, people have their own preferences on how much oil they want to add, so use your own judgement.
3. Make sure that you don’t burn your garlic or ginger. You want the aroma of ginger and the sweetness of the garlic to accent your dish. This recipe calls for 3 cloves, but you be the judge on how much you want to use.
4. MSG: A controversial note about this ingredient. If you are allergic to it, then just stay away. If you wonder why your veggies at home don’t taste as good as the veggies you get at your local Chinese restaurant, then experiment with it and you may be pleasantly surprised!
5. Last but definitely not least, don’t overcook your vegetables, or you will have leftovers that you will not want to keep around! I never met anyone who said, “please cook my veggies well done” unless they didn’t have any teeth.
I hope this recipe becomes your go-to stir fry bok choy recipe. Here’s how you do it!
Stir-fried Bok Choy: Recipe Instructions
Discard any yellowing leaves from your bok choy, and slice it at a slight angle into 1-inch pieces. When you reach the tough base of the stem, discard. Throw your bok choy into a large bowl with lots of cold water. Agitate the veggies with your hands and/or use your faucet sprayer to loosen any dirt. Soak for 5 to 10 minutes.
Scoop the veggies into a colander and rinse the bowl clean of any sand. Repeat the process until you don’t see any dirt on the leaves or at the bottom of your bowl. We tend to wash leafy greens three times, and then we use the water to water plants! Once the washed bok choy is in a colander, give it a good shake to release any excess water.
Heat your wok or large pan over low heat and add the oil. Immediately add the ginger first (if using) and then the garlic (if you don’t feel like mincing garlic, you can use a garlic press, one of our most often used kitchen tools! It gives the dish a much more garlicky flavor.).
Once you have the ginger and garlic in the pan, add the veggies and turn the heat up to the highest setting. Stir-fry using a scooping motion so the ginger, garlic and oil are evenly distributed among the vegetables. This first 30 seconds is a critical time not to let your aromatics burn and to cook your veggies evenly.
Next, add salt, sugar, sesame oil, white pepper, and the MSG and hot chicken stock if using. (Using hot chicken stock is important to maintaining the temperature of the wok). Stir fry uncovered for another 1-2 minutes. Plate and serve immediately.
You may have a little or a lot of liquid, depending upon the heat of your stove and how much water was left in your vegetables after washing, so use a deep dish for serving. That veggie soup liquid is full of vitamins and is awesome when poured over a bit of rice!