Shanghai Bok choy is a small cabbage, averaging 10-12 centimeters in length, that has a bulb-like base consisting of clustered stems connected to loosely bunched, oval, flat leaves. The smooth stems, also known as petioles, are thick, firm, pale green, and slightly flattened. The delicate leaves are light to dark green, crisp, and broad with round, even edges, covered in prominent, light green veining. Shanghai Bok choy is tender, aqueous, and crunchy with a mild and slightly sweet, green taste reminiscent of celery and cabbage.
Shanghai Bok choy is an excellent source of beta-carotene and vitamins A, B, C, and K, which are antioxidants that help the body fight against environmental aggressors. The leaves and stems are also a good source of fiber to stimulate digestion and contain calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, magnesium, and folate to help support bone strength and fight against inflammation.
Shanghai Bok choy is best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as saut?ing, boiling, stir-frying, braising, grilling, and steaming. The crisp nature of the stem and leaves are showcased when chopped and tossed into fresh green salads, or the raw leaves can be mixed into a slaw with carrots and garlic for a mild crunch. In cooked applications, Shanghai Bok choy can be chopped as a filling for potstickers or spring rolls, quickly cooked in stir-fries with other vegetables, mixed into cold noodle dishes, or tossed with cooked meats and rice. The small greens can also be sliced in half and lightly braised or mixed into soups and stews. Shanghai Bok choy pairs well with meats such as poultry, pork, and duck, seafood, tofu, mushrooms, snow peas, cucumbers, carrots, mint, sesame seeds, and sauces such as soy, hoisin, and oyster. The leaves and stems will keep 3-5 days when loosely stored in a plastic bag and kept in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.