Thursday, February 4, 2010
Creamed Shanghai Bok Choy
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This, arguably, is the ultimate in miniature vegetables. Our local Asian market has started stocking a diminutive form of Shanghai bok choy. I'm thrilled. Bob and I became huge fans of the vegetable in China. Bok choy has crunchy stems and crinkled, spinach-like leaves. It appeared almost daily on the breakfast buffets in tourist hotels where it was steamed until crisp-tender and then napped with a light cream sauce. It appeared later in the day as a stir fry, topped with a garlic sauce that could be hot or not, depending on location or the cook's whim. Bok choy is a mild flavored form of cabbage that brings a lovely crispness to any dish to which it's added. I noted as we moved from one area to another that the color of the bok choy appeared to change. It wasn't my imagination. I learned that there are actually two types of the vegetable. We had been eating miniature forms of bok choy. The Canton variety had small yellow flowers and was lighter in color and sweeter in taste than its Shanghai counterpart. The Shanghai variety had a green hue and larger leaves, but, strangely enough, was the smaller of the two. I fell in love with both of the miniature versions because less chopping would be necessary with meal preparation. Once home, I began a search for recipes that would produce dishes similar to what we had been eating. This recipe for creamed bok choy makes a dish that is similar to the one we had for breakfast. I think you'll enjoy it.
Creamed Bok Choy...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite, inspired by Gloria Miller
1 pound baby bok choy (Shanghai or Canton)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup minced smoked ham (optional)
Pepper to taste
1) Trim ends from bok choy and cut stems into 2-inch pieces if necessary.
2) Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add oil. When it begins to shimmer and bok choy and stir fry for for 2 minutes. Add salt and stock. Bring to a boil. Cover pan and cook over medium heat until softened, about 4 minutes.
3) Meanwhile, dissolve cornstarch in milk. When bok choy is softened, reduce heat and slowly stir milk mixture into pan. Do not allow milk mixture to boil. Cover pan and simmer for 3 minutes longer, stirring once or twice.
4) If using ham, sprinkle it on bok choy. Add pepper to taste. Serve hot. Yield: 4-6 servings.