Far From Uninspired

October 1, 2008

This recipe is a revelation—in texture, flavor, simplicity, beauty and, most of all, speed. And speed in the kitchen is something I’m prizing quite a bit since I started my job. (I know, I know. All of you out there who had full-time jobs or kids or, I don’t know, responsibilities before, um, last Monday, are probably rolling your eyes and possibly even uttering a “duh.” But I’m catching on. Bear with me.) And this recipe is lightning quick—the sort that doesn’t merely suggest a mise en place, but rather demands it.

I especially value speed, though, when it doesn’t come at the expense of a dumbed down, flavorless, uninspired end result. And, oh, that is just not the case here. Unless you consider a glistening, tangled heap of emerald green baby bok choy (cutest vegetable ever?), greens wilted and bulbs still almost crunchy to be “uninspired.” I, for one, do not. Especially when said tangled heap is enveloped in a unctuous slip of garlicky sauce, which tastes like the dregs at the bottom of your very, very favorite Chinese takeout boxes—but which, in reality, you whipped up in your very own kitchen: no take out menus, no hunger-induced over-ordering, no delivery charge.

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos & the recipe.)

This recipe could easily serve as a meal in itself, served with some thinly sliced protein, quickly stir fried in a slick of sesame oil. Round it out with some brown rice and your favorite weeknight television show  and call it a Wednesday night. Er, at least that’s what my Wednesday nights are looking like these days—and gloriously so. Also, stick the leftovers in the fridge and call it a delicious, cool Thursday lunch. I speak from experience.

Stir-Fried Baby Bok Choy with Garlic

Adapted from Gourmet

1/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced garlic (about 8 cloves)
2 lb baby or Shanghai bok choy, halved lengthwise
2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil

Stir together broth, soy sauce and cornstarch, until cornstarch has dissolved.

Heat wok or large skillet over high heat until a drop of water evaporates instantly. Pour peanut or vegetable oil down side of wok, then swirl oil, tilting wok to coat side. Add garlic and stir-fry until pale golden, 5 to 10 seconds. Add half of bok choy and stir-fry until leaves wilt, about 2 minutes, then add remaining bok choy and stir-fry until all leaves are bright green and limp, 2 to 3 minutes total. Stir broth mixture, then pour into wok and stir-fry 15 seconds. Cover with lid and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are crisp-tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in sesame oil, then transfer to a serving dish.

12 Responses to “Far From Uninspired”

  1. Mari Says:

    I’m a big fan of bok choi, but I’ve never prepared baby bok choi before. This looks so tasty, I can’t wait to try it!

  2. eggsonsunday Says:

    That top picture is gorgeous – baby bok choy *are* adorable. I love the idea of halving them so you can see the gentle wave of their inner leaves… –Amy

  3. Dawn Says:

    Who can resist baby vegetables? I adore baby bok choy… and baby zucchini, baby squash, baby carrots (the real ones). Yummmm, anything with sesame oil and garlic on the ingredient list just has to be good.

  4. Lee Says:

    These are really fantastically good. I made them for dinner tonight (alone with some red rice) – a really great suggestion, thank you 🙂

  5. Ali Says:

    Nobody puts Baby (Bok Choy) in the corner. Sorry couldn’t resist… Looks delicious and adding Stir Fry components would get me every time!!

  6. Andrea Says:

    That is so beautiful! Whenever I see bok choy I always want to get some, but never really know what to do. Know I know! Thanks!!

  7. Melissa Says:

    Those are so pretty. I had no idea, I’ve never bought them before. *Pondering*

  8. Vicki Says:

    I just made this tonight – so simple and delicious – thanks for the recipe!

  9. Mari: Thanks! I hope you give it a try.

    Amy: I agree—the cross section is so pretty.

    Dawn: Some of my favorite flavors too!

    Lee: That’s wonderful! Thanks for reporting back.

    Ali: You are funny.

    Andrea: Thanks!

    Melissa: Time to head to the market?

    Vicki: Yay! Thanks for letting us know.

  10. Jonathan Says:

    bok choi is so delicious and you completely did it justice. i often don’t keep it whole like that (or cut in half). love the idea, the flavors and the pictures.

  11. Jonathan: Thanks! I hope you give this a shot. If so, let us know what you think.

  12. CourtJ Says:

    I made this last night to go with my plum and fig glazed duck and it was a lovely, elegant side dish (but so easy to make!). Thanks for the recipe. I’ll be linking to your blog when I post my pics on my blog 🙂

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