Culinary Challenge: Bok Choy

bok choy

 

For many people, it's green peppers. For others, it might be the endless bags of spring lettuce or winter's never-ending supply of rutabaga. For us, it's bok choy.

 

If you belong to a CSA, you know what we're getting at. Even if you're a kitchen whiz, that weekly box is sure to contain at least one vegetable that'll prove to be your culinary Achilles' heel. When bok choy is in ours, we're stumped.

 

What's wrong with bok choy? Nothing really: it's green, it's crisp when not overcooked, it's not difficult to wash. But for some reason we're just never inspired by it. There are only so many times we can sauté those stalky leaves with garlic and ginger and drizzle them with sesame oil before getting bored—and we tend to get a whole lot of bok choy in our CSA boxes here on the East Coast.

 

So this week we decided to think outside the stir-fry and find an arsenal of compelling dishes that will help us end our stand-off with this strangely confounding cabbage.

 

Bok Choy Salad [The Cozy Apron]

Stop the presses, people: it turns out bok choy is delicious raw. Try slicing it confetti-thin and drizzling with a honey-touched soy vinaigrette.

 

Kerala-Style Dal Curry with Bok Choy [Cooking and Me]

Treat bok choy as you would any leafy green and throw it into soups, stews, or this spicy, curried dal.

 

Bok Choy Kimchi [Chow Divine]

Don't be intimidated: kimchi is actually easy to make and very forgiving. Don't have an Asian pear? Use any other firm pear instead. The only non-negotiables are gochugaru (Korean red-pepper powder), garlic, and salt.

 

Wasabi Salmon with Bok Choy, Green Cabbage, and Shiitakes [BA]

A turn in a hot oven leaves bok choy with crisp edges and a smoky, caramelized taste. Pair it with salmon and shiitake mushrooms to make this simple, one-pan meal.

 

Baby Bok Choy with Bacon Vinaigrette [Mark Bittman]

Bittman takes a distinctly non-Asian approach in this versatile side dish.

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