Baby bok choy stir-fried with garlic is no secret. However, the addition of a couple simple ingredients will make your bok choy taste so much better.
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If you’ve ever ordered stir-fried bok choy in a Chinese restaurant, do you notice that it tastes just a little bit different than just greens and garlic?
Yes, there is the addition of cornstarch such that the juices are slightly thickened. Or it could be that characteristic white pepper flavor often used in Chinese cuisine.
It tastes like chicken
Perhaps it could be MSG, but we hope not. Likely though, it is the addition of umami through the form of chicken stock.
I prefer to use chicken bouillon concentrate. However, chicken stock could also be used, just adjust for additional salt, since chicken stock does not have any.
Chicken powder could also be used, but it does generally contain MSG.
Add a pinch of sugar too, and you get a very savory vegetable side dish worthy of setting on your dinner table.
Step 1: Prep and wash baby bok choy
Bok choy appears in many varieties. The version pictured above is sometimes called “bok choy miu.”
Rather than the typical varietal with light green stems and dark, flat green leaves, this one has a pure white stem and curly leaves. Use whichever bok choy you can find.
Chop off the root end and wash thoroughly. Ideally, in order not to water down the sauce, you would spin dry the bok choy.
If you don’t quite care for that extra step, a little additional water leftover on the leaves will be fine.
Step 1: Saute garlic
Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add some oil and saute the garlic for 10-15 seconds just until fragrant but not brown. Brown garlic tastes burned and bitter.
Step 2: Saute baby bok choy
Add the baby bok choy leaves to the pan. Stir in the chicken stock or chicken bouillon concentrate and sugar to season.
Keep stirring for 3-5 minutes until the bok choy is softened. The stem should no longer be crunchy and should be tender to the bite.
Step 3: Add cornstarch to thicken
At this point, juices will have collected on the bottom of the pan. Add the cornstarch slurry and cook for another 1-2 minutes until the sauce is thickened.
It should not be gloppy but rather like thin gravy. Add white pepper if desired and additional salt if needed.
Step 4: Serve hot
Serve with hot rice, and next to any other tofu or meat dish of choice.
Easy Baby Bok Choy & Garlic Stir-Fry
- 1 lb baby bok choy
- 2 Tb cooking oil such as grapeseed, canola, or peanut
- 1 Tb minced garlic
- 2 tsp chicken bouillon concentrate or 1/4 c chicken stock
- 1/2 tsp mineral salt or 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tsp water
- 1/4 tsp white pepper optional
- Cut bottom stem off bok choy. Wash and drain. Some water will remain on the leaves and that is ok.
- Heat pan over medium heat. Add oil and garlic and stir for about 10-15 seconds until garlic is fragrant but not browned.
- Add bok choy. Raise heat to medium high and cook for 4-5 minutes until the thickest part of the stem is tender. Add cornstarch slurry and cook for 30 seconds to thicken sauce.
- Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed.