Cookbook:Bok Choy

Bok Choy


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Bok choy, also called bok choi, baicai, pak choi, pak choy, or Chinese leaves, is a green leafy vegetable used in Chinese and South-east Asian cooking. It is closely related to choy sum, yu choy, and Nappa cabbage.



Bok choy is closely related to cabbage, and they share some characteristics. Bok choy has crisp white elongated stalks, with green leaves at the ends.[1][2][3] Unlike a western cabbage, the heads are very loose and fan outward instead of closing in on themselves.[4] Its flavor is generally mild but faintly bitter,[4] though it mellows and develops a somewhat "nutty" flavor when cooked.[5] Since its leaves have a spoon-shape, it may be called “soup spoon”.



There are a number of different bok choy varieties, which vary in color, taste, and size. Tah tsai and joi choi are two varieties. Shanghai bok choy has particularly green stalks and rounded leaves.[5] Baby bok choy refers to small, tender heads of bok choy harvested before peak maturity.



Bok choy contains vitamins A and C. One cup of cooked bok choy offers over 100% of the recommend dietary allowance of vitamin A, and close to two-thirds the RDA of vitamin C.



Though bok choy is generally available year-round, it peaks in the winter.[3]

Selection and storage


When selecting bok choy, look for heads that are firm and not wilting. There should be no spotting, browning, or soft spots, and you want the leaves to look fresh and green.[2][5] Some reports suggest that very large heads can have a tough texture to the stems.[2]

Store the bok choy in the refrigerator in plastic to prevent wilting.[5] Excess moisture will cause it to rot faster, so don't wash until ready to use.[2] When washing, make sure to separate the leaves and stalks, since grit tends to collect between them.[1][6]

Bok choy is widely used in a variety of East Asian cuisines.[5] Especially tender bok choy can be eaten raw in salads, but on the whole the vegetable is most commonly cooked. This can include steaming, stir-frying, deep-frying, braising, and boiling—low moist heat helps soften and tenderize the stalks,[5] but in all cases, care should be taken to prevent it from getting mushy.[2] Both the stems and leaves can be used, but the stems take a little longer to cook and should be added before the leaves to ensure both are cooked to the correct degree.[2] Baby bok choy can be cooked whole.[1]

If substitution is necessary, a mixture of celery and spinach can work acceptably.




  1. a b c Gisslen, Wayne (2015-03-12). Essentials of Professional Cooking, 2nd Edition. Wiley Global Education. ISBN 978-1-119-03072-0.
  2. a b c d e f "Bok Choy | Cook's Illustrated". Retrieved 2024-01-07.
  3. a b "The Serious Eats Field Guide to Asian Greens". Serious Eats. Retrieved 2024-01-07.
  4. a b Davidson, Alan (2014-01-01). Jaine, Tom (ed.). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780199677337.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-967733-7.
  5. a b c d e f "What Is Bok Choy?". The Spruce Eats. Retrieved 2024-01-07.
  6. López-Alt, J. Kenji (2015-09-21). The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN 978-0-393-24986-6.