Braised bok choy with shiitake mushrooms is a simple dish featuring two ingredients that are made for each other.
Even with the prep, this dish takes just minutes to make. Serve this lovely side dish with Asian-style tofu or noodle dishes. It’s good on its own or over rice.
Use any kind of bok choy: Baby bok choy of any size is fine in this recipe. So is the other kind of bok choy with the large white stalks and darker green leaves. The latter seems to be more commonly found in supermarkets. That kind is also fine to use in this recipe for braised bok choy with shiitake mushrooms.
An easy vegetable to prepare: Calcium-rich bok choy is one of the easiest greens to use because you needn’t bother trimming stems away — just slice through the crispy whole stalk and the leaves. And the less time it’s cooked, the better.
If there was a contest for cutest vegetable, I’d probably nominate baby bok choy. The smaller, the cuter. If you visit any market in any Chinatown in the U.S., you’ll find bok choy that can fit into the palm of your hand. Other choy-related vegetables are worth exploring, too.
- 8 stalks regular bok choy, 2 medium baby bok choy, or 4 to 6 tiny bok choy (8 ounces total, whichever you use)
- 4 to 6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed, and sliced
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth or water with 1/2 vegetable bouillon cube
- 1 to 2 teaspoons grated fresh or jarred ginger
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch or arrowroot
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- For regular bok choy, slice the stems and chop the green leaves roughly. For any size baby bok choy, slice through the stems and leaves. Rinse either variety well in a colander — there's sometimes grit in the stems.
- Combine the shiitakes in a pan with the broth or water with bouillon cube. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until just tender.
- Stir in the ginger, then add the bok choy. Cook for just a minute or two until wilted and heated through. Bok choy cooks quickly and is best with a little crunch.
- Combine the cornstarch in a cup with just enough water to dissolve. Stir together and drizzle into the pan. Cook until the liquid is thickened, then remove from the heat.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve at once in shallow bowls or over a hot cooked grain.
MORE ABOUT BOK CHOY
Bok choy is arguably one of the most widely available variety of Asian greens in western markets.
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, likable 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.
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.
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