Bok choy, along with a host of other Asian vegetables, is grown right down the road from me in the Holland Marsh. Regular boy choy has white stalks and dark ruffled leaves. Shanghai bok has light green stalks and smooth leaves. Depending on the weather, you can expect to find local bok choy in Ontario grocery stores through November.
This robust slightly bitter green is a natural in stirfries and Asian inspired soups.
But my favourite way to cook it is braising. Baby bok choy works best for this. Simply wash, cut in half lengthwise and cook in a flavourful liquid.
For a side dish, sauté some chopped onions in a blend of vegetable and sesame oil. Add some grated ginger, minced garlic and/or red pepper flakes, then a splash or two of soy sauce, fish sauce and rice wine vinegar. Add boy choy, sprinkle with black sesame seeds and cook in the liquid until leaves are slightly limp and stalks tender crisp.
I served this for dinner Saturday night along side a barbecued striploin roast that had been marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, orange zest, red pepper flakes and brown sugar.
For a quick one-pot dish, braise chicken thighs and baby bok.
Start by browning skinless chicken thighs in oil in a deep, lidded pot. (I love my enamel-coated cast iron Dutch oven for recipes like this.)
Remove chicken and sauté chopped onions in a blend of vegetable oil and sesame oil. As above, add grated ginger, minced ginger, red pepper flakes, soy sauce, fish sauce and rice wine vinegar to suit your tastes. Then add a few cups of homemade chicken stock. Return chicken to pot, cover and simmer until nearly done, about 20 or 25 minutes.
If desired, add a slurry of a spoonful of cornstarch mixed with 60 to 80 mL (1/4 to 1/3 cup) of cold water. Simmer for a minute or two to thicken sauce.
Add halved baby bok choy, sprinkle with sesame seeds and cook until leaves are slightly limp and stalks tender crisp.
Serve over rice.