I love a good bok choy salad like this one, featuring bursts of sweet apple and crunchy carrot, all tied together with sesame ginger dressing. There’s something about a bok choy salad that feels very clean and refreshing.
Pair with Asian entrees: It’s often hard to pair an Asian main dish, like a stir-fry or noodle dish with a salad, but I’d venture to say that this one would be a good choice (assuming that bok choy isn’t also part of the hot dish, of course). It offers a compatible flavor profile, with the apple, cranberries, and almonds serving to create just enough of a contrast.
In general, I’m a huge fan of bok choy, the crunchy, leafy Asian vegetable that gives you two textures in one. Whether the larger type, which offer a pretty visual contrast between the white stalks and dark leafy greens, or the more baby variety, each is just as good raw as lightly cooked.
A BIT ABOUT BOK CHOY
Bok choy is arguably one of the most widely available variety of Asian greens in the west. The term “bok choy” generally describes the larger kind, with the crisp white stalks and dark leaves. Baby bok choy is a smaller version, with stems and leaves of a fairly uniform, pale green hue. Either variety is a kind of two-fer: A crisp veggie and leafy greens in one neat package.
If you scour Asian markets, you might find a kind of bok choy that’s half again as small as the kind of baby bok choy commonly marketed in western supermarkets or natural foods markets. If you’re lucky enough to come across it, simply rinse it well and use it whole in stir-fries.
Most people who like greens or who have eaten in Chinese restaurants have likely come across this mild vegetable. While we’re familiar with the two above described varieties, there are at least twenty in parts of the Asia where this kind of green is consumed with more frequency.
Use raw or lightly cooked: Either of the common varieties of bok choy are equally good raw in salads or very lightly cooked in stir-fries and Asian-style soups. When it comes to cooking, the less the better — the leaves wilt quickly and the stems are best when still crisp. So the watchword is quick — add last and don’t cook for more than a minute unless it’s in a braised preparation.
To prepare, they’re usually just stemmed (an inch or so needs to be trimmed off the bottom of the larger bok choy stalks) and sliced, leaves and all.
More bok choy recipes on this site:
- 6 or so large bok choy stalks with leaves, or 2 baby boy choy
- 1 firm sweet apple, cored and diced
- 1 cup grated carrot
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup toasted almonds
- 1/2 cup sesame-ginger dressing, homemade (see link to recipe in Notes) or bottled, more or less as needed
- 1 to 2 tablespoons rice vinegar or other mild vinegar, to taste
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Slice the bok choy thinly. If using the kind with the larger leaves, cut them into shorter ribbons. Place the slices in a colander and give them a good rinse. Bok choy sometimes harbors hidden (or not so hidden) sand. Dry thoroughly in a salad spinner or blot with paper towel.
- Combine the bok choy with the remaining ingredients and stir together. This salad benefits from having a chance to stand for an hour or so to allow the flavors to marry. However, you can serve at once if you need to.
Here is our Sesame-Ginger Salad Dressing recipe.
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