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This baby bok choy stir fry is so full of rich umami garlic-ginger flavor, you won’t even notice that it’s extremely healthy for you too! Prepare this recipe in your favorite wok, only 16 minutes from start to finish!
What isn’t to love about a stir fry? It tastes good, has an inexpensive price tag, and best of all, you can use any of your favorite veggies in the mix.
One of our all-time favorite veggies to fry is bok choy, and while we love the flavor of fully-grown, we prefer the mild taste and soft crunch that comes from the baby variety of this cruciferous veggie (also called Chinese cabbage).
This fibrous vegetable has two distinctive parts: the soft greens on top and the stiffer white stalks that we separate before cooking to ensure even cooking.
We dressed our baby bok choy very simply with some umami soy sauce and sesame oil. The fresh garlic and ginger add a delicious, fragrant zing to the stir fry and the dried chiles add a little heat.
The entire recipe whips together in under 20 minutes, which is a weeknight miracle in our book, especially when we’re short on prep time in the evening!
Follow our simple recipe below to cook this nutritious stir fry with an unusual veggie that offers a great starting point, so you can try out other bok choy recipe ideas next.
1 Tbsp vegetable oil of choice
2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled, crushed, and finely chopped
1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
8 heads baby bok choy
1 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
1 Tbsp water
¼ tsp dried chili flakes
Toasted sesame seeds to garnish
In a small-sized mixing bowl, place your sesame oil, soy sauce or tamari, water, and chili flakes. Whisk until thoroughly combined, then set aside.
Clean and chop the bok choy, removing the whites from the green leaves. Learn how to cut bok choy for stir fry in the FAQ below.
In a large cast iron wok, heat your vegetable or cooking oil of choice on the stovetop. Once heated, add the chopped garlic and fresh ginger, cooking until fragrant, ~ 1-2 mins.
Next, we’ll get into how to stir fry bok choy, one “part” at a time. Mix in the white stalks of the baby bok choy, cooking for 3-4 mins in the oil, garlic, and ginger. Then, add the soy sauce mixture and green leaves of the bok choy, cooking another 2 mins until thoroughly heated, with gently wilted leaves.
Once done cooking bok choy in stir fry, remove it from the pan. Serve your Chinese bok choy stir fry while warm, with a healthy sprinkle of sesame seeds.
Bok Choy Calories: 45 kcal
Carbohydrates: 1 g
Protein: 1 g
Fat: 5 g
Sodium: 255 mg
Sugar: 1 g
*Nutritional information is an estimate and varies with your preparations.
Bok choy is a dark, leafy green Asian veggie with firm, white stalks, also known as Chinese cabbage.
Bok choy is a cruciferous veggie with a mild flavor and slight bitterness, much like other veggies in the mustard family, such as turnips, kale, and cabbage.
What part of bok choy should you eat?
Though we usually chop off the very bottom of the bok choy, you can eat the entire plant: greens, leaves, and all!
A cast iron wok makes quick work of this stir fry and allows each piece to make more contact with the pan’s bottom, resulting in an evenly cooked dish. If you don’t own a wok, you can use a skillet or pan instead – choose cast iron if you can, though other frying pans can work well, too.
There are two different size variations – regular bok choy is approximately one foot long, while baby bok choy is roughly half the size and much milder in flavor.
If you like the more intense, robust flavor of regular bok choy, feel free to use it in this recipe instead. Cut the bok choy into pretty small pieces, and adjust cooking time as necessary. The mature bok choy plants are bigger, denser, and often take a little longer to cook.
For this recipe, you’ll want to know how to clean bok choy properly. First, wash the stalks well, as they often contain quite a bit of grit and dirt at the stem’s base. It may be easier to chop the veggie first, then wash the pieces in a strainer when preparing bok choy for stir fry, as a lot of dirt sits in tight crevices of the plant.
To cut your bok choy properly, remove the greens from the whites. They’re much softer and less dense than the whites, so they cook much more quickly.
The benefits of bok choy make it an exceptionally healthy option to include in your diet regularly, like in this healthy stir fry. As with other cruciferous veggies, bok choy contains loads of fiber, which helps our bodies digest food more slowly, a key component to eating a low-calorie diet without feeling like you’re starving.
Fiber also aids digestion and may help balance minor issues like constipation and diarrhea.
Bok choy contains plenty of antioxidants that help fight free radicals, toxins, and premature aging within our cells. The list of vitamins and minerals in bok choy is long – this veggie boasts choline, selenium, beta-carotene, copper, zinc, and vitamin K.
For most people, it’d be pretty difficult to overeat bok choy. We usually enjoy bok choy cooked in recipes like ours, but eating too much raw bok choy can have severe and potentially life-threatening effects on the body.
That’s because bok choy contains myrosinase, an enzyme that may hinder our thyroid function by preventing our bodies’ absorption of iodine. This enzyme deactivates when it cooks, so it’s only an issue for raw bok choy.
For these adverse effects to be truly detrimental, you likely have to eat quite a bit of it. In the New England Journal of Medicine, a woman developed severe hypothyroidism and respiratory failure from eating 2-3 lbs of ray bok choy a day – that’s a lot of bok choy!
Instead, eat bok choy cooked when possible, and limit your raw bok choy intake to enjoy in moderation, primarily if you have known thyroid issues.
This bok choy is delicious on its own, though we think it needs a little protein to offer a well-balanced lunch or dinner.
Try adding some baked chicken breast or thighs to the mix, and serve the combination with or without some steamed jasmine or brown rice for a meal that will fill you for hours.
If you’re a vegetarian, pair some crispy-fried marinated tofu cubes for a big hit of plant-based protein.
You can expand the veggies in this stir fry to include more than bok choy if you’d like. Stir-fries are a fantastic way to use up any old veggies rolling around the back of your fridge that need to be used yesterday. Broccoli and sweet peppers are a few favorite additions in our house, but almost every vegetable pairs well with the mildness of baby bok choy!
This bok choy stir fry makes an excellent side dish or star of any easy meal! Your stir-fried bok choy stays well in a sealed, airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
While it’s best to enjoy this stir fry fresh, you can also freeze it for up to 3 months, though it may need a pan fry once thawed to help some of the extra water evaporate from the thawing process.
Enjoy your wok-fried sesame and ginger bok choy!
Check out our article for more wok recipes, or visit keto stir fry, vegetables stir fry, and tofu stir fry if you're looking for some more extra healthy options!
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