I’ve mentioned how I like experimenting with Asian kitchens in my previous posts and that I’ve spent two beautiful months in Uzbekistan. It is my story of testing five different rice cookers from stainless steel.
My bucket list includes visiting China and learning about its culture. I haven’t gotten a chance to grant that request yet. But here in America, I’m “practicing” for my upcoming trip to China.
How, as I hear you asking? By training, what does she mean?
My dears, I have been attempting to prepare as many Chinese foods as my husband will permit. He doesn’t like Chinese food all that much, but he likes my cooking, so I think one thing makes up for the other.
My ultimate goal is to be able to cook at least some of their classic dishes on par with some of their best national chefs. I can never have the best spicing or cutting skills, but I can always do my hardest.
How To Cut Bok Choy
One of the vegetables from Chinese national cuisine that I started using regularly is bok choy. I am delighted by this grocery, and I am determined to help you learn how to cut it, for starters.
So, let’s roll up our sleeves and start the magic!
Bok Choy – The King of Cabbages
Bok Choy, Pak Choi, Brassica campestris, or “Chinese cabbage,” is a vegetable of the Chinese cultivar group. It has smooth, dark green leaves, shaped like blades, which form one cluster.
By their looks, bok choy leaves remind of celery or mustard greens. The name originates from the Cantonese dialect and literally means – white vegetable.
Today, this plant is grown across Europe and America, too. It is available year-round, so you can get it whenever you want, which means pretty often, in my case.
The whole plant is edible, and it tastes cabbage-like with sweet undertones. There are various ways of preparing this vegetable. You can cook its stalks and leaves, add them to soup, steam them, stir-fry, or eat them raw in salads.
The main reason why I like bok choy so much is not the taste, but the health benefits it offers. It is rich in vitamins A, C, and K. Also, it is a major source of calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, and potassium.
As you can see, it is practically a health bomb! It empowers your immune system, takes care of nerve and muscle function, and improves your metabolism.
These huge health potentials of bok choy made it one of the many plants used in Chinese medicine. The antioxidants it contains had been related to cancer prevention. It also lowers your risk of unwanted chronic inflammation.
Learn: The Secret Of The Perfect Chinese White Sauce
Preparing & How to Cut Bok Choy Step-by-Step
Mine so far gathered experience with bok choy made the preparing process seem so easy.
It’s as I had forgotten how sloppy and clumsy I was when I made it for the first few times. Now I have developed a routine for easier and more efficient cutting.
I have shown this method to many of my friends, and they spontaneously adopted it and said it helped them. That’s why I hope this six-step approach will be valuable for you too.
Before we start, let’s make a list of the things you’ll need:
- Large kitchen bowl
- Quality cutting board
- A sharp ceramic knife
Before you take a knife in your hands, you should know something.
Curl up the hand’s fingers, which hold the bok choy, towards your palm and away from the knife. Keep that hand at a safe distance from the knife, and move it away from the blade as you slice further along the vegetable.
Start with the slow slicing pace until you get more experienced. This way, you’ll avoid cutting yourself – safety should always come in the first place.
I’ve cut myself a dozen times, and I learned this lesson the hard way, so please take these precautions first.
1. Selecting the fresh bok choy brunches
- The trick is to look for the heads with bright green leaves and the white stalks that look crispy. Pay attention to holes and discoloration; these are clear signs of staleness.
- If you are planning on cooking soup or making a salad, look for larger leaves. On the other hand, stir-fries will work better if you choose smaller, narrow heads. This will help you speed up your cooking and avoid overcooking.
2. Trimming and discarding
- When you’ve selected the bok choy that suits your needs, it’s time to start cutting. Look at the bottom of the plant. Bok choy, like any other sort of cabbage, has a thick base. You wouldn’t want to eat that. Use a sharp knife for this step; it’s important as dull ones are more likely to slip and cause injury.
- Start by slicing half to one inch (1,3 to 2,6 cm) off the bottom. Cut just above the line where leaves are connected to the base.
- Now you can get rid of any leaves that are discolored or unusually tough. Just pull them off and discard them.
You May Need: Find the perfect stone to sharpen your knife, or do you prefer to use steel for sharpening?
3. Cutting the stalk in half
- Use your sharp knife to slice down the middle of the bok choy. Remember, you are making a lengthwise cut. Start at the white base and end at the leaves.
- If you are dealing with an unusually large head or only want the bok choy sliced into smaller pieces, you can repeat this lengthwise cut on two halves you ended up with. This way, you’ll create four smaller quarters. You can repeat this cut as many times as you need, depending on the size of a bok choy head.
4. Washing the leaves
- If you thought all six steps were about cutting, you were wrong. Wherever you are buying your vegetables, they are dirty and should not be eaten before washing. This step requires one big bowl of cold water and a colander.
- Separate leaves and swish them around in a bowl you prepared. To remove the dirt, gently rub the leaves together. Dirt usually collects toward the base, so pay attention to that part. When you estimate you are done with washing, drain the water using a colander.
5. Slicing into the smaller pieces
- Finally, we come to serious slicing. Cut across the stalks at a 45-degree angle. Cutting at this angle increases the surface area, which allows the bok choy to cook more quickly. Start at the beginning of the base and slice up all the way to the top of the leaves.
- Chop the bok choy into approximately one-inch (1,3 cm) sections. If you want smaller pieces, just make the smaller cuts, be creative, and follow your needs.
Further Reading: The Finest Vegetable Choppers On The Market
6. Taste the bok choy
- Have you ever cooked something if you haven’t tasted it? I don’t think so. Your cutting is finished. Go ahead and try the fresh bok choy, especially if it’s your first time.
- It’s delicious, and if that is not good enough for you, think about all the health benefits I’ve mentioned. Whether you are a true hedonist or live a healthy life, or you are a combination of those two, the bok choy will suit you.
What Comes After The Cutting?
After the cutting, your imagination takes a turn. There are many great recipes, including bok choy, but there are many more to be invented. So try whatever pleases your senses.
In my manner, I like preparing it by the traditional Chinese recipe, which includes baby bok choy, and use chopsticks to eat. On the other hand, if you like spicy food, my husband’s favorite bok choy dish should be your choice. It is a stir-fry with garlic oil and oyster sauce.
I believe you’ll find your perfect recipe, and I hope the bok choy experience will interest you in joining me in my dreaming of China journey.
Further Reading: Handy Guide For Cutting A Papaya