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What Is Bok Choy Stir-Fry?

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  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 02 September 2016
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A bok choy stir-fry is a vegetable dish that is common in Asian cuisine. Bok choy, which is also referred to as Chinese cabbage, is one of the main ingredients in this type of stir-fry. Other vegetables, such as broccoli or bamboo shoots can also be included in this dish, however. Chicken, pork, beef, or seafood are also commonly found in a bok choy stir-fry. Like other types of stir-fry, bok choy stir-fry is cooked at high heat in oil and seasonings.

In order to make bok choy stir-fry, the cook needs either a large frying pan or a wok. A wok is the preferred piece of cookware because the shape of the pan keeps heat concentrated in its center. Stir-fries are meant to be cooked at a high heat and must be kept in constant motion by turning and tossing so that they do not burn. Though it is possible to cook a bok choy stir-fry in another type of pan, it is difficult to do so at a high enough heat to keep the bok choy crispy.

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The wok and the cooking oil used for the stir-fry should be heated before the bok choy and other ingredients are added. Once the oil is hot, seasonings such as hot peppers, soy sauce, ginger, teriyaki, rice wine vinegar, and sesame can be added and allowed to cook slightly. After this, meat can be added, followed by bok choy and other vegetables. When cooking both meat and vegetables, it is usually necessary to start cooking the meat first because the vegetables only take a couple of minutes to cook. In simple dishes, bok choy may be stir fried alone or with a little soy sauce and garlic.

A good bok choy stir-fry will contain high quality bok choy. This plant is a variety of turnip and is in the same family as broccoli and cabbage. It is often harvested when it is young and less than 6 inches (15.2 centimeters) long, in which case, it is referred to as baby bok choy, though fully mature plants can also be used. The plant has a mild, slightly peppery flavor that is similar to the flavor of other cabbages, though not nearly as strong. The leaves and watery stems, which may be chopped if they are large, are the parts of the bok choy used in a stir-fry.

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