Bok Choy: Will it grow in Louisiana? Every year I like to try to plant something new and small bok choy plants was something I noticed in the garden center. Why not try this vegetable, I mused. Well, my transplanted seedlings grew well–both in the fall and early spring–so I’ve got lots of bok choy to cook with. This is a cool weather plant, so time is running out to plant it in our gardens in March. Here is some that I planted last fall which lasted through the winter.
I grew up knowing bok choy as Chinese cabbage. Other than adding it to Chinese stir fry dishes, we rarely used it in cooking. Although it is called Chinese cabbage, it doesn’t remind me of cabbage at all. It has a crisp, zing taste and grows upright–like Romaine lettuce. My bok choy is getting ready to bolt-or flower, which means I need to use it soon.
Bok Choy is a cruciferous vegetable and it is very nutritious, low in calories and high in Vitamins C, A, and K, folate, B-complex vitamins, calcium and iron. Like other cruciferous vegetables, it has many polyphenol compounds which have anti-oxidant and anti-cancer properties. It’s one of those vegetables that we should eat more often.
I am finding that bok choy can be eaten raw, in salads or as a crunchy crudite. It can be added to soups or stir fry dishes–as we did growing up. I’ve tried several ways of preparing this vegetable. Stir Fry Bok Choy and Pineapple turned out especially well. It has an oriental flare with soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil.
Stir Fry Bok Choy and Pineapple
One bok choy plant from my garden weighted 1 lb. After cleaning and chopping the leaves and stems, I had 4 cups of raw vegetable. During cooking, it wilts and greatly reduces in size–my husband and I ate the entire dish–but then it’s low in calories and we must have been hungry! Serve this with rice and some sort of protein for a meal.
- 1 lb bok choy
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 2 Tbsp lite soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 10-can pineapple chunks, drain and reserve reserve juice
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
Wash and clean the bok choy. Chop the stems and leaves, keeping the stems separate. This should be about 4 cups. Set aside.
Add vegetable oil to skillet, heat to medium high. Add garlic and ginger, and stir for a minute–reduce heat if needed to avoid burning the garlic. Add the bok choy stems and stir. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. The bok choy stems should make plenty of liquid as they cook, they will still be crunchy. Add the bok choy leaves. Mix together the soy sauce, brown sugar and reserved pineapple juice. Add this to the bok choy and sprinkle with red pepper flakes. Stir to combine. Cover and cook for several more minutes until the leaves wilt. Add the pineapple chunks and sesame oil, heat through. Serve with rice.