Bok Choi

Bok Choi

Bok choi (also hakusai, bai cai, pak choi, Chinese white cabbage) is thought to be the oldest of the Asian greens. It has been cultivated in China since at least the 5th century and in Europe since the 18th century. Hong Kong farmers grow over 20 kinds of bok choi. Many more varieties can be found across the mainland and in Taiwan.

It has long been grown in the U.S. as a salad vegetable. All Chinese cabbages are delicate and crisp, qualities that enable them to combine with a wide variety of foods. Kimchi, the universal Korean pickle, is often made with Chinese cabbage.

As a member of the crucifer family, bok choi offers nutritional assets similar to those of other cabbages. It is rich in vitamins A and C and contains significant amounts of nitrogen compounds known as indoles, which appear to lower the risk of various forms of cancer. Bok choi is also a good source of folic acid. bok choi has more beta-carotene than other cabbages, and supplies considerably more calcium. It is very low in calories - only 15 calories per 1/2-cup of bok choi.

Storing and Cooking

Wrap bok choy in a damp towel, or put in a plastic bag and place in the hydrator drawer of the refrigerator. Store for up to one week. Leaves will lose integrity and wilt if allowed to dry out.

Bok choi stalks are mild and crunchy and the leaves pleasantly tangy. The stalks and leaves have quite different textures and cooking times, so in culinary terms, it's like getting two vegetables for the price of one. Be sure to give the stems a minute or two to cook before you put the leaves in so that each part cooks to perfection.

Bok Choi cooking times:

Boiling: 3 - 4 minutes for the stalks, 1 - 1 1/2 minutes for leaves

Steaming: About 6 minutes for the stalks, 2 - 3 minutes for leaves

Stir-fry: About 5 minutes for stalks, 2 minutes for leaves - the leaves should be just wilted and bright green

Bok Choi recipes:

Thai Chicken Coconut Soup

Did you know?

The wealthiest fifth of the world's people consume 86% of all goods and services, while the poorest fifth consumes one percent.
~United Nations, 2002

Quotes

"The care of the Earth is our most ancient and most worthy, and after all our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it and to foster its renewal is our only hope."
~Wendell Berry

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