Pak choi is a most useful vegetable:
- It’s available all year round so you can plan it in without wondering if will be stocked or not.
- It’s not expensive.
- It is super-easy and quick to cook.
- And it adds a slightly exotic Chinese aura to whatever food it accompanies – that’s one of the reasons I paired it with this month’s duck and soy sauce recipe.
- It keeps its crisp texture and shape and it has a delicate taste – not as aggressive as cabbage.
- It’s healthy. It ranks sixth best out of all fruit and vegetables for its Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (nutrient per calorie density essentially).
But it will only keep a few days in the fridge.
We should thank Jo Larkcom, author of Oriental Vegetables, for the availability of this vegetable (as well as other oriental greens) – she did a lot of the pioneering work required to get it more widely known, and to create a demand.
This is what you have to do for the simplest stir-fry method for pak choi:
Method for stir-frying pak choi
- Divide the green leaves from the white stems by simply cutting the pak choi in half – unless you are lucky enough to have found some miniature Pak Choi in which case they can be cooked whole (perhaps cut them vertically in half).
- Slice off the browning end of the stem half, then slice across the white stems horizontally, at 1 cm/½” intervals. Stir fry the sliced stems in sesame oil (add a few sesame seeds if you have any to hand; pine nuts are also good) for about a minute.
- Shred the green leaves by simply slicing them across, add to the wok, stir fry for another minute.
- Shake over some good quality soy sauce.
For a slightly more intriguing recipe try stir frying it with purple sprouting, peanuts, and mange tout.
For a post on Tatsoi, follow this link.