Bok choy consists of a clustered base of thick stems and oval-shaped leaves, averaging 20-25 centimeters in length with the ability to grow up to fifty centimeters in length. The smooth, firm stems are bright white, crunchy, and slightly curved. Connected to the stems, the crinkled, dark green leaves are crisp and pliable with prominent white veins spanning across the surface. When raw, Bok choy has a crunchy, slightly fibrous consistency with a sweet, green flavor mixed with notable cabbage nuances and a mild mustard-like bite. When cooked, the texture softens into a tender consistency, and the flavor mellows into an earthy, mild taste.
Bok choy is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, which are antioxidants that can help protect the immune system and repair cell damage. It also contains vitamins B6, K, and E, magnesium, potassium, iron, manganese, and calcium.
Bok choy is best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as steaming, boiling, grilling, braising, and saut?ing. When used raw, the stalks and leaves can be shredded and mixed into slaws, or chopped and added to salads for a crunchy bite. Bok choy is most popularly utilized in cooked applications and can be sliced and incorporated into soups and stews or chopped into a filling for potstickers. The leaves and the stems can also be stir-fried or saut?ed with other vegetables and meats to create a balanced main dish, and in Asian countries, the cooked greens are finished with sauces composed of oyster, soy, or hoisin sauce, sugar, garlic, and sesame oil. In addition to slicing and cooking, Bok choy can be halved and grilled for a charred flavor, pickled and fermented for a tangy flavor, or used as a substitute for napa cabbage in recipes. Bok choy pairs well with aromatics such as scallions, ginger, and garlic, meats such as poultry, beef, pork, and duck, tofu, lemongrass, sesame seeds, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, carrots, mushrooms, and noodles. The leaves and stems will keep up to one week when loosely stored in a plastic bag and kept in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.