Bok Choy is a side dish that’s simple, nourishing, and packed with delicious flavors. Below I share my favorite ways to prepare and cook bok choy.
Preparing this dish takes only minutes, and makes a marvelous side with any lunch or dinner. Serve with fried rice with take-out style sweet and sour chicken or Mongolian Beef!
Bok choy is one of my favorite stir fry veggies. This delicious cabbage was introduced to North America during the gold rush in the late 19th century.
How to Choose Bok Choy
Bok choy should be firm and waxy with no brown spots. It is sometimes known as pak-choi and while there are many varieties, it most often is seen in two different sizes in North American grocery stores.
- A full-grown head of bok choy is about a foot long, with thick white ribs and dark green leaves along the top edges.
- Baby bok choy (photographed here) is about half that size and has a milder flavor than many people prefer over the more pungent adult version.
Whatever the name or size, it’s always versatile, easy to prep, and remains a staple of Chinese cuisine; it’s a stir-fry workhorse.
What does Bok Choy taste like? It has a mild, peppery flavor that makes it suitable for many dishes or salads. Chop or grate it raw for salads or slaw, or, keep it simple and cut in half, brush with oil, and grill. The great thing about this vegetable is that it retains its crunchiness, even when cooked.
Flavors that pair well with bok choy include minced garlic, soy sauce, ginger, red pepper flakes or chili paste, sesame oil, lemon juice, tamari.
How to Cut Bok Choy
Clean Well! The stalks can often have dirt or grit at the base of the stem so be sure to remove them and rinse well. If cutting in half lengthwise (photo above) run cold water through the stems making sure to remove any dirt or grit.
Bok choy leaves cook faster than the crisp ribs (stems) so they can be cut to cook separately. If using baby bok choy, the leaves and ribs can be cooked together.
- Baby Bok Choy can be cut in half lengthwise and grilled or cooked on the stove. Cutting this way makes for a pretty presentation and a crisp ribs with tender leaves.
- You can also separate baby bok choy by pulling the ribs off and rinsing and then cutting the leaves off to cook separately in a pan.
- For larger bok choy, I prefer to separate the leaves from the stalks and cook them separately.
For salads, baby bok choy can be shredded and enjoyed raw.
How to Cook Bok Choy
This veggie is quick and easy to cook and comes together in no time flat.
- Combine sauce ingredients and set aside (per the recipe below).
- Stir fry the garlic, ginger, and sliced bok choy in oil for a few minutes.
- Stir in the sauce and add the tops and simmer a few minutes more.
Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve.
Bok choy is best served tender-crisp, be sure not to overcook it!
What to Serve With It
- Bring out the best in bok choy by serving it with ramen noodles, or Jasmine rice or adding it to any stir fry recipe.
- Rice or udon noodles make excellent accompaniments.
- Serve it next to steamed fish, or steak bites. If you’re in the mood for something more substantial, consider sautéing it with teriyaki chicken.
The combination of soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and chili flakes are the perfect complement to tender-crisp bok choy.
Storing and Reheating the Leftovers
Leftovers will keep in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to four days, or in the freezer for up to four months. Reheat on low or medium in the microwave or stovetop until heated through. Don’t overdo the heat or your bok choy could get mushy and overdone.
Take-Out At Home
- Sweet and Sour Pork – a perfect balance of sweet & sour
- Chicken Chow Mein – ready in 30 minutes!
- Beef and Broccoli – sweet, savory & spicy!
- Crispy Homemade Egg Roll – with an easy sesame sauce!
- Chicken Lo Mein – a classic take-out favorite
- Sesame Air Fryer Green Beans – ready in 15 minutes
Sesame Ginger Bok Choy
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic crushed and chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger minced
- 8 heads baby bok choy chopped, whites & leaves separated
- sesame seeds for garnish
- Combine soy sauce, water, sesame oil, and chili flakes in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet and cook the garlic and ginger until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Mix in the whites of the bok choy and cook 3-4 minutes. Add soy sauce mixture and leaves and cook 2 minutes more or until heated through and leaves are gently wilted.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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At the same time to add the leaves and soy sauce mixture I made a space in the middle of the pan, added a little more oil and scrambled two eggs then mixed it up for a couple minutes and that was a delicious breakfast.
This has become my go-to recipe for Bok Choy, which I regularly receive in my CSA box. So easy and delicious!
Delicious recipe! Easy, fast and flavorful! I’ve made it many times and it’s a family favorite!
Yummy, I added Salmon, and onions.
So yum! I subbed the soy sauce with coconut aminos and a tsp of sambal oelek instead of flakes. So good, sweet and spicy.
Wow, so so good!! This is our favorite way to cook bok choy!
Great dish with great flavor. Easy to do most prep work in advance, then sauté at the last minute. Will definitely do again.
I’m so glad I tried your recipe. My husband and I hadn’t ever eaten bok-choy. I looked for a recipe that was well received (5 stars) and which also used items we liked in the recipe. It was delicious! Now my husband and I have added a new wonderful vegetable, and I have pinned a new recipe to keep for the future.
I made it last week and have already re-used the recipe tonight. Excellent recipe. Thank you for posting it.
So glad you love the bok choy recipe, Angela! Thank you for sharing!
This is a delicious and simple recipe. I think I added a little extra ginger by accident and it was noticeable. I can only say LESS IS MORE with ginger.
Terrific side dish; had it with marinated chicken drumsticks and rice. Didn’t have sesame seeds, but didn’t need them. Thanks!
This is so good. Have made it a few times as a side for baked salmon. I don’t use sesame seeds, however follow the recipe as it’s written. The leftovers of course if there is any, is great in soups.
Thank you so much for sharing your love of cooking & baking.
Thank you, Ferryal, and we are so happy you’re enjoying this recipe!
How much do I love this recipe? Well, it’s spicy with ginger, nuttiness from sesame oil and kicked up with chili garlic sauce (which is the only sub I made)! My CSA had lots of bok choy this season so…
Loved this meal! Easy to make and tasted delicious.
Easy simple recipe with great explanations and instructions.
I didn’t change anything which is rare for me because I love to tweak recipes, even ones that I haven’t tried before. I have a farm co-op that delivers fresh locally grown vegetables bi-weekly (sometimes interesting ones). This week was cabbage, but not head cabbage as I anticipated. I think it is bok choy. Oddly enough, I had every ingredient in this recipe on hand. This is a fabulous recipe and I doubled it due to the amount of cabbage that I had delivered from the farm co-op. I did not know about separating the crispy white stem from the leaves until I read this recipe. It worked out well. The most time preparing the dish was spent cutting up the cabbage, garlic and fresh ginger (I must be slow because it was more like 30 minutes time for me). For the oil, I did use high heat stir fry oil. The recipe is super healthy, and most importantly, delicious! I made it for a future dinner for our teen daughters as my husband and I both work long hours and need quick “heat me up” meals. It will be served over brown rice noodles seasoned with a bit of soy sauce and sesame oil. After tasting the sesame ginger bok choy, I would have liked to eat half it tonight!
So happy you enjoyed it, Celeste! This recipe is such a yummy way to use bok choy!
I agree with Celeste – my first time cooking with Bok Choi which I just received from my CSA. Mine cook time was also longer because I did not think to cut the white stem smaller as mine were not babies. Adding the greens later was a definite helpful hint! Everything turned out wonderful and delicious!
Easy and yummy!!!
This was crazy easy and my 13 year old son ate it all!
This is exactly the flavor I was hoping for. Absolutely delish. Served it with grilled chicken and white rice for a perfect meal that the whole family enjoyed! Thank you!
This was delicious and very easy to make! I will make this recipe again!
Glad to hear that Alison. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for the tip to separate the leaves and the white of the bok choy! I was out of both sesame oil and seeds, so I used a dash of peanut oil in the pan and mixed in some tahini (sesame) paste before serving. It was delicious!
Great idea Pablo! Peanut oil would be a delicious substitution.
Love the tahini sub idea, going to try that with my latest CSA bok choy!