AndyTalk: Baby Bok Choy, Your New Favorite

Categories: Chow Bella

Baby Bok Choy - halved.jpg
Andy Broder
Baby Bok Choy, halved lengthwise

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Sometimes you want the simplest of recipes because 1) you're making dinner; 2) you want something fresh - aka real food; and 3) you have better things to do than spend an hour in the kitchen. With one skillet and some baby bok choy (available in most grocery stores) you have options. To get you started I'm sharing three baby bok options that take less than 10 minutes from start to finish. In any of the recipes you can use full size bok choy, cut into one-inch pieces, but it's less tender and will take four minutes in the skillet instead of two.

Baby bok choy has a gentle green-leafy flavor. Its lack of assertiveness is comparable to that of spinach. This means that any recipe that works with spinach or green beans will work fairly well with baby boks.

Prep for all three recipes is minimal, and starts with washing the babies. Then I cut them lengthwise into 2 or four pieces, depending on their size. Any other ingredients that need attention from my knife get their due as well. The remaining ingredients should be out (and measured if you're not comfortable eyeballing a tablespoon or two of oil or ginger). In all three recipes the bok choy is sautéed.

Simple Baby Bok Choy is as simple as it gets. Sautéed in olive oil or butter with a little garlic and red pepper the greens taste fresh and make a good side for just about anything.

Simple Baby Bok Choy.jpg
Andy Broder

Baby Bok Choy with Radicchio adds agave nectar for some sweetness and shredded radicchio for color and a pleasant hint of bitter. Although this recipe is basic, it looks smart enough for entertaining. If you like to think outside the box consider this as a side when serving pasta or grilled steak.
Baby Bok Choy with Radicchio.jpg
Andy Broder
Baby Bok Choy with Radicchio

Baby Bok Choy with Sesame includes sesame oil and some fresh minced ginger. It's a simple version of a traditional recipe. Black sesame seeds are often in the spice section of the grocery store, and always available at Asian markets. They're just garnish, and actually taste pretty much the same as white sesame seeds. Any sesame seeds will do, but using black and white mixed looks pretty cool.
Baby Bok Choy with Sesame.jpg
Andy Broder
Baby Bok Choy with Sesame

We eat with our eyes before we get that first taste, which means that a little food bling (like red pepper, radicchio, or black sesame seeds) goes a long way. Enjoy the choy.

Andy Broder is the chef/owner of AndyFood, A Culinary Studio.

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Wow tastebuds really are different.  Black sesame is worlds apart from other sesame in my mouth.  I use baby boks to secretly get cretinous veggies into family.  I treat the stem and leaf differently.  Cook stem more and slice green leaf super thin and add at very last to ramen egg drop soup or scrambled eggs over rice.  Stretch out a package of pork sausage by slicing super thin and frying separately to get the fat out and get flavor without lots of meat.   Baby bok is really necessary to build flavor in many oriental style dishes.  Ditto Shitake (which I have to chop fine cuz they love the flavors but think they hate both of these foods.  I'm most interested in developing dishes and flavors for poor people to have good nutrition and avoid monotonous diet without having to purchase too many expensive elitist condiments.  Sesame oil is one that seems pricy but a little goes a long way.  So Shitake seems expensive also but you may need only one mushroom to add the necessary flavor to your dish.  Also with Shitake you can place in sun gill side up and they will absorb Vitamin D and retain through cooking for those avoiding mucous dairy.  Often I will use the water remaining from cooking Shitake to build the sauce flavor or even throw that into the soup.  

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