New Vegetable to Try: Bok Choy

This Chinese leafy green cooks easily and works well in main dishes or on its own as a simple side dish.

Bok choy is a low-calorie Chinese cabbage that cooks easily and contains a wealth of nutrients. Photograph courtesy of Flickr user FotoosVanRobin.

Bok choy, a Chinese cabbage often found in soups and stir-fries, actually looks nothing like the Western cabbage most of us are familiar with. And while it’s become easier than ever to find in supermarkets, the problem is that not many people know what to do with it.

Fortunately, local nutritionist and foodie blogger Robyn Webb has the low-down on how to choose, prepare, store, and cook bok choy. She says she eats it all the time, thanks to its extremely low calorie count–just 13 calories per 100 grams. Plus it contains a wealth of vitamins C, A, and K, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and iron.

How to select: Look for bok choy that is moist, plump, and fresh-looking, and has no yellow or brown leaves, says Webb. “The outer leaves should be of good green color with no evidence of small holes or tears.”

How to prepare: Webb recommends cutting the bottom end to release the leaves. Then wash and dry. You can use either the stalk or the leaves, or both, in recipes.

How to store: Cover loosely with a plastic bag and store in the crisper. It should be used within three days for best results.

How to cook: The cabbage is quite versatile. It can be stir-fried, added to soups, or eaten raw. However, there are some caveats depending on how you choose to cook it, Webb says. When stir-frying or using it in soups, add it last since it cooks quickly. To eat it raw, thinly slice it and add it to salads “for a delicious crunch.” Shredded bok choy makes for great coleslaw. Any way you decide to have it, Webb says bok choy mixes well with ginger and garlic.

Recipes to try:

Bok Choy Soup 

Braised Baby Bok Choy 

Stir-Fried Bok Choy With Ginger and Garlic