Bok choy is such an attractive vegetable, it’s hard to believe that it also tastes pretty good and is easy to cook. I have seen several different sizes and varieties at the Asian market.
I first tried one of the highest-rated bok choy recipes on allrecipes.com. It is surprising how many vegan or almost-vegan recipes are highly rated on the site.
I initially cooked with the large, “full-grown” bok choy that is available in mainstream grocery stores. If it can be said that a vegetable looks intimidating, at over a foot tall with dark green leaves, then bok choy does look intimidating! However, the stalk is tender and sweet and the leaves do not get slimy or mushy when cooked.
The baby bok choy I found was around 8″ tall and very tender. I found it at the Asian market for 89 cents a pound, as opposed to $1.49 a pound at the regular grocery store for the “full-grown” version! I don’t know that I have a preference, as both varieties taste about the same.
Spicy Garlicky Bok Choy
1 pound bok choy or baby bok choy
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/4 cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon vegetarian “oyster” mushroom sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce, or more to taste
Optional: shiitake mushrooms, fried tofu cubes, green onions, brown basmati rice
Wash and slice bok choy, separating stalks from leaves. Heat 1/2 of each oil in a skillet, reserving half. Cook sliced stalks in oil on medium heat until they look about half-cooked, 3-4 minutes. Add sliced leaves and cook another 2-3 minutes. In a bowl, combine remaining half of oil, water, garlic, mushroom “oyster” sauce, soy sauce, and Sriracha. Pour over bok choy. Add fried tofu cubes, cooked shiitake mushrooms, and green onions and serve over brown rice for a whole meal.
I didn’t think I could cook tofu at home, until I realized that I could buy at the Asian market the same stuff I love at the Thai restaurant! Look for fried bean curd in the refrigerated section if you want to duplicate your favorite Chinese or Thai restaurant tofu. Otherwise, use marinated, baked tofu cubes — or tofu straight out of the package, if that’s your thing.
2 cups frozen stir fry veggies of your choice – HyVee brand Stir Fry Vegetables with Asparagus is great 1/2 tsp sesame oil 1 TB soy sauce 1/2 tsp rice vinegar 2 TB Hoisin sauce 2 TB peanut butter (crunchy or creamy, your preference) 2 TB water or more, to thin sauce Tofu cubes
Sriracha chili sauce, to taste (optional)
Chopped peanuts, fresh cilantro, and lime juice to top (optional) Heat sesame oil in a skillet and cook vegetables. Add remaining ingredients and heat until peanut butter melts. Add tofu and serve over Jasmin rice or rice noodles, with Sriracha to taste. Serves 2, or 1 who is very hungry.
*If tofu will frighten away the omnivore you’re feeding, throw a scoop of frozen shrimp into a separate skillet – it’s easy to prepare and doesn’t require you to actually touch it.
I made the recipe exactly as written, except that I subbed vegetarian “oyster” sauce for the stuff with shellfish. Yes, you can buy “oyster” sauce with no oysters — and it’s good. I got mine at the Asian market, but it can also be found here: http://www.wanjashan.com/include/N3O2.htm. I also added toasted sesame seeds for a little visual interest.
A new and exciting place for me to shop is my huge local Asian market. A large variety of produce, rice, beans, sauces, dried mushrooms are available — and three whole aisles of nothing but noodles! Japanese udon noodles have become a favorite, and they’re great in this dish. Even if you don’t have an Asian market near, soy sauce, seasoned rice vinegar, and sesame oil are easily found in most large grocery stores.
It’s very easy to make vegan Asian food, because tofu is a common ingredient, so it’s easy to leave the meat out. Asians don’t seem to eat a lot of dairy, either. The inspiration for this dish, however, was something I scooped up off the salad bar at Whole Foods recently – cool, tangy, sweet, and a little spicy, this is perfect for the 100+ degree F temperatures we’ve been having in the Midwest!
¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar ½ Tablespoon sugar ½ Tablespoon lite soy sauce ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil 2 large cucumbers, peeled and sliced or julienned 8 ounces dried spaghetti or udon noodles, cooked ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped 2-3 green onions, sliced 2 Tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
In a large bowl, stir together rice vinegar, soy sauce, salt, sesame oil. Add cucumbers and cooked spaghetti.
Add red pepper flakes, fresh parsley and green onions. Chill one hour. Top with sesame seeds and serve.