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Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Bok Choy Recipe

Bok Choy Recipe

photo of Bok Choy (learn about bok choy) – so vibrant and tender!

I’m going to tell you to do something that is totally contrary to many Asian cookbooks out there. And yeah, it also flips my motto, “Hot Wokky, No Stickky” on its head.

Okay, ready?

Cold Wokky, Very Garlickky.


The problem with using a very hot wok or frying pan to stir fry with minced garlic and ginger is that you’ll probably burn it. Burnt garlic and ginger is big time suckky. When I’m stir-frying vegetables, like bok choy, I add the minced garlic and ginger to COLD oil and COLD wok or pan. As the wok and oil heat up, the ginger and garlic gently sizzles. The longer the aromatics stay in contact with the oil – the more flavor it infuses into the oil. So, now you’ve got a tablespoon of that an incredible garlicky, gingery oil. Toss the bok choy leaves in that oil, so that each leaf of the bok choy is bathed in heavenly flavor.

If you had used a hot wok and hot oil, you only get a few seconds before they burn. What does burnt garlic and ginger taste like?


Bitter can be good sometimes – I LOVE bitter. But when you’re going for a more delicate flavor, especially in a bok choy dish, you might not want bitter.

Now, I do want to say that the rules for cooking meat in a pan or wok are different – (that’s another lesson that I’ve written extensively about at Simply Recipes.)

Young grasshoppa, let me show you the way.

How to cook bok choy


Start by trimming the bok choy stem off – don’t trim too much – just the end. Cutting the thick stem off will ensure that the bok choy cooks evenly. Separate out the bok choy leaves and rinse under running water.


But leave the tender baby that’s in the middle of each bok choy! That’s the golden nugget! Finely mince garlic and grate fresh ginger with a microplane grater. Grating the ginger helps break up the tough fibers! (and yeah, sometimes when the ginger is nice and fresh, I don’t even bother peeling off the paper-thin skin)


Place wok or frying pan on your stove and pour in the cooking oil. Add the garlic and ginger. Turn the heat to medium-high. Let the ginger and garlic gently sizzle in the oil. When the aromatics become fragrant and light golden brown, add the bok choy leaves. Toss to coat each leaf with the garlicky, gingery oil.


I really mean it! Toss, baby, toss! Stir! Faster! You only have like 15 seconds of tossing time! I am super wok-stirring queen!


Pour in broth, water or wine over the bok choy. Immediately cover and let cook for 1 minute. Season with salt and drizzle a bit of sesame oil on top.


That’s it! I hope you try this method – it works for any type of vegetable, like Napa cabbage or broccoli. For thicker vegetables (like broccoli), increase the steaming time by another minute and maybe add a bit more water/broth.

Oh yeah, why tongs instead of a standard wok chan (spatula)? Because it’s easier to use the tongs to toss, flip and turn when dealing with delicate vegetables.


Bok Choy Recipe

Servings: 4 Prep Time: Cook Time:


1 1/2 pounds bok choy or baby bok choy
1 1/2 tablespoons canola, vegetable or peanut oil
1-2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
3 tablespoons broth or water (or 2 tablespoons broth/water + 1 tablespoon wine)
salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil


1. Start by trimming the stem off - don't trim too much - just the end. Cutting the thick stem off will ensure that the bok choy cooks evenly. Separate out the leaves, keep the tender center intact and clean under running water. Drain.

2. Finely mince garlic and grate fresh ginger with a microplane grater. Grating the ginger helps break up the tough fibers! (and yeah, sometimes when the ginger is nice and fresh, I don't even bother peeling off the paper-thin skin)

3. Place wok or frying pan on your stove and pour in the cooking oil. Add the garlic and ginger. Turn the heat to medium-high. Let the ginger and garlic gently sizzle in the oil. When the aromatics become fragrant and light golden brown, add the bok choy leaves. Toss very well to coat each leaf with the garlicky, gingery oil for 15 seconds. Pour in broth, water or wine. Immediately cover and let cook for 1 minute. Season with salt and drizzle a bit of sesame oil on top.

Other Chinese Vegetable Recipes

Yu Choy Chinese Spinach (Yu Choy) Recipe with Toasted Garlic (ooooh….a blast into the past! One of my very very first posts ever! look at the photography! heehee!)

Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce (another vintage Steamy Kitchen!)

168 Responses to “Bok Choy Recipe”

  1. kss — 3/7/10 @ 1:50 am

    Just cooked this tonight for guests, and was VERY pleased with the results Thanks for the great recipe!

  2. Sandi — 4/12/10 @ 12:47 pm

    Just wanted to tell you that I have your book and I just love your bok choy and pea pod recipe….I make it all the time, it’s just soooo good

  3. Gina S — 4/13/10 @ 4:28 am

    This was the exact recipe I was looking for to cook Bok Choy.. It tastes lovely (I also added a little oyster sauce)

  4. Colette — 5/19/10 @ 1:25 pm

    Wow, this sounds so delicious! I’ve been using a method similar to this, but without broth or wine additions, and it’s been incredible still. Now if I add all these additions, I believe i’ll get even tastier results. And thank you so much for the tips on the garlic! I find myself hurrying to get the garlic going enough and then putting the bok and water in to douche out the heat before it starts burning. At times i’ve failed and got the best of the (blah) burning! But I’ll use your method, and get likely more vibrant, delicious every time results!

    Thank you!


  5. Swell — 5/25/10 @ 3:09 am

    Very yummy, thanks for the tips, was a good quick meal. I added some sauted tofu as well.

  6. feliz — 6/6/10 @ 1:40 pm

    I made the Bok Choy Stir Fry Recipe. it was delicious!I am a lousy cook, and even I could make a descent dish with your recipe. I had my family coming over ( my worst critics ) and everybody loved it. Thanks

  7. Josephine — 6/7/10 @ 8:21 pm

    I love this recipe. I didn’t pay super-close attention to amounts and it turned out great. I used water for the liquid, btw. Pretty and fresh!

    Just fyi, I served this with a mushroom pasta (sauteed onion, garlic, mini portobellos with salt, pepper and a few dashes of balsamic vinegar, over some fresh linguine, garnished with parsley and some parmesan). Yum!

  8. LM — 6/18/10 @ 11:22 pm

    This recipe is great! Ive always loved bok choy at restaurants and this is my first time making it at home. This will be my new go to recipe for bok choy.
    And the tip about putting the oil, garlic and ginger in a cold pan works great! Ive always had trouble with this in a wok. This will be my new method.
    Thank you!!

  9. Stacy — 7/11/10 @ 11:40 pm

    Tried this tonight and want to try again another time. My bok choy was giant and the leaves with stalks didn’t fit in the wok! I tried to steam them anyway, but they were too thick and wouldn’t touch the bottom of the pan. I fished them out, sliced them vertically to make them more flexible, and had better luck after that. Whew!

  10. Aditi — 10/7/10 @ 12:38 am

    Thanks Jalden… It seems very easy for an amateur cook like me too… Will try it this weekend…

  11. wEnDaLicious — 11/3/10 @ 5:56 pm

    Just made this and it turned out wonderfully garlicky!!! Thanks!!! =)

  12. Angie — 12/29/10 @ 4:00 pm

    I tried this recipe today and it was so delicious! Thanks for sharing.

  13. Cooking in Mexico — 1/10/11 @ 8:36 pm

    I just made this and it was a hit. Thanks for the tip on how to cook garlic without it becoming bitter. It seems a bit odd to start with a cold pan, after years of being told to heat the pan, then add the oil, but it worked fine. I added home made beef stock as the liquid.


  14. Lori — 1/18/11 @ 7:06 pm

    Exactly how I cook my bok choy! Yum! I just came across your page and I am excited to try your Beef Pho recipe! Great page!

  15. karen — 1/26/11 @ 10:22 am

    that sounds like a great idea…I am going to make a chicken, broccoli and bok choy stir fry…I wonder if I should cook the bok choy first and set it aside and add it at the end.

  16. ?...Eileenfoxherbert — 2/17/11 @ 3:46 pm

    can you freeze bok choy. I have steamed it and stir fry. Will try with garlic and ginger and want to try with tofu as a healthy alternative…….

  17. Rex Sakamoto — 2/23/11 @ 11:01 pm

    This dish is tasty and so easy! This past winter I grew some bok-choy and today was the day to pick it. I wanted to use it in a simple dish to preserve the fresh garden taste. The recipe was perfect as the light ginger and garlic taste complimented the bok-choy perfectly. Being a garlic lover i added some extra sautéed garlic slices as a garnish. I definitely will be making it again.


  18. Effe — 2/25/11 @ 4:55 am

    Thx for such a detailed recipe. Just followed it yesterday and the bok choy turned just wonderfully!!! :)

  19. Denise — 3/1/11 @ 5:04 pm

    I recently introduced baby bok choy to my 7 yr old and she LOVES it!! I add a little Chinese Five Spice and it gives it the best flavor!!

  20. Colling — 3/10/11 @ 7:04 am

    I love to make baby bok choy now. Thanks for the great recipe. I indeed enjoyed to read this.

  21. Jen — 3/24/11 @ 12:15 pm

    Can you share the bok choy and pea pod recipe?
    Thank you!

  22. Steven — 4/23/11 @ 6:49 pm

    Dear Steamy Kitchen:

    This recipe was so easy to follow. The pictures helped guide me with the level of trimming of the vegetable. The controlling of garlic and ginger to cold oil was so helpful.

    I hosted a nice dinner party with pouched salmon (evoo, minced garlic, and freshly squeezed lemon juice in a pouched tin foil wrapper on the grill, (15 minutes); Israeli salad, (finely cut grape tomatoes, cucs, lemon juice, small amount of spanish onion, and salt, evoo and fresh dill); grilled carrots, and various other accompaniments and everything was great.

    What was really neat was the fact that I never made bok choy before and this just perfectly fit in. Your recipe was so easy to follow.

    Thank you for your detailed explanation and tips.

    And for desert = fresh cut strawberries with home made cream on the side.

  23. Donald G — 4/25/11 @ 8:39 pm

    i made your baby bok choy and it was better tha I thought it would be. I used some sliced shitake mushrooms, salt,pepper,sesame oil. It was so delicious.

    A question: what is the difference between the white bottomed bok choy and the all lighter green identical vegetable? At my Asian market, Ranch 99, there were prices but no name tags

  24. Drew — 5/19/11 @ 11:00 pm

    Just cooked this tonight and OMG! Soooo good. I julienned the ginger and diced the garlic. Yum. First time making bok choy, but not the last! Thanks!

  25. Di — 5/26/11 @ 11:15 pm

    I followed the recipe step by step, but my bok choy was too chewy. I think 1 min is not enough. What have I done wrong? And what parts are supposed to be cooked?

  26. Susie — 6/2/11 @ 11:17 am

    SK – you say “But leave the tender baby that’s in the middle of each bok choy! That’s the golden nugget!” What do we do with it? Anything? Todd it? When you say golden nugget i took it to mean it was special somehow, but there are no instructions for it.


    • SteamyKitchen — 6/2/11 @ 3:32 pm

      Ah, I meant don’t cut up the tender part in the middle of the bok choy – just leave it whole to cooke. That’s the best part to EAT.

  27. LMFrancis — 6/7/11 @ 7:09 pm

    I didn’t try to freeze the leaves but the stems, cut and steamed for a couple of minutes freeze very nicely. I use the frozen bok choy in stir-fry or soups.

  28. Rachel — 6/13/11 @ 5:37 pm

    This looks delicious, I’m definitely going to be trying it! In the recipe you say you can use beef broth or water & wine. What kind of wine would you recommend for this type of stir fry?

  29. tommy — 7/6/11 @ 8:32 pm

    Simple, great, thank you.

  30. Sheila Crye — 7/23/11 @ 3:22 pm

    Would you ever thicken the sauce lightly with a little corn starch dissolved in water?

  31. Great recipe! I didn’t even have to go to the store for any of the ingredients which is weird for me b/c I hardly ever have bok choy and ginger, but I had stocked up a week ago when I started a juicing reboot program. The bok choy I used was huge so I cut it into more manageable pieces. I had googled for bok choy recipes and I’m so glad I found your recipe. I had no idea what to do with it. The ginger and garlic made it taste great.

  32. Sandi — 9/2/11 @ 7:05 pm

    Hi Jaden, I just love your recipes….I have made this bok choy several times and it’s wonderful as well as many other recipes from your book. Your site is great!! When will you be doing another book?

    Have a great weekend!

  33. Anne Yee — 9/14/11 @ 7:45 pm

    Hey Steamy Kitchen… I just bought a ton of baby bok choy and am going to try this recipe, but finish with a bit of smoked olive oil and see how it comes out. I’m off to cook. I will let you know how it goes.

  34. Anne Yee — 9/15/11 @ 10:02 am

    It works with the smoked olive oil… yum!

  35. Stephanie — 9/24/11 @ 11:08 pm

    I’m going to try it with the Sonoma smoked olive oil that Chef Ming Tsai recommends….sounds wonderful!

  36. Imani — 9/26/11 @ 5:29 pm

    This is a great recipe. Very simple, and yields fantastic flavor. thanks!

  37. Sinofil — 10/15/11 @ 6:27 am

    Hi, if i want to cook bak choy with meat, should i precook the meat first or just add the meat before adding the bak choy?

    • SteamyKitchen — 10/15/11 @ 8:39 am

      Stir fry the meat 1/2 way first, remove from wok, then cook the boy choy. Add the meat back into the wok towards ends of cooking to finish!

  38. Jillian — 1/29/12 @ 10:48 pm

    I just made this, but also added some baby carrots thinly sliced lengthwise… It was SO beautiful and delicious! Thank you for this perfect and simple recipe.

  39. EP — 1/31/12 @ 7:45 pm

    Great how-to! I had no clue how to approach bok choy and you made it exceedingly simple. Thanks!

  40. Sophie — 2/1/12 @ 1:28 pm

    Made this exactly per the recipe. Added wine and broth. Excellent! my first time making bok choy. Will def repeat.

  41. Eva Smith — 2/11/12 @ 8:40 am

    Thank you for sharing this recipe with the clear instructions and photos. They are very helpful for a first-time bok choy user.

    By the way, the photography is beautiful.

  42. George — 4/19/12 @ 11:43 am

    Love your site and you seem really nice. I just find your humerously intended Chinese bastardizations to be offensive. It looks like you might be asian, so I guess that makes it OK, but I’m not really so sure about that.

  43. Ryna Marinenko — 4/22/12 @ 3:36 pm

    Couldn’t print the recipe for bok choy from your web site. Everything else printed and wasted a lot of paper. I’ll be sure to avoid this web site in the future.

  44. Kylie — 4/30/12 @ 11:40 pm

    I am currently eating Paleo and used this recipe tonight with coconut oil! It was AMAZING!!!! I never thought I could cook this veggie at home and have it taste this good!!! Thank you!

  45. Amber Rositter — 5/31/12 @ 9:47 pm

    Oh! It looks yummier! I gonna try this to make also some difference for my family. I am really sure they will like this. Hope you will post more tips. Thank you so much.

  46. Tricia — 6/4/12 @ 11:18 pm


    Check to see if the version of windows you are running has the snipping tool (just search all files and programs for “snipping tool” and it should pull up the .exe file). It is awesome, it will allow you to select a section of the current screen, and then give you the option of saving it (pdf or jpeg),or copy (then paste it where ever you want, like in a word doc or powerpoint slide). Then you can print that file. Makes getting stuff off websites so much easier.

  47. propolis murah — 9/16/12 @ 9:20 am

    this is very nice, i’m so hungry, i think this is very delicious

  48. Drummer — 9/17/12 @ 10:36 am

    oh wow, i never knew Bok Choy (or shouldnt it be Pak Choi) can be cooked in such an interesting manner. Thank you for sharing.

  49. David Crowley — 10/6/12 @ 2:32 pm

    Just made something similar, very tasty! I like the way bok choy absorbs flavors of what you cook it with.

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