Get to Know: Chinese Cabbage | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Get to Know: Chinese Cabbage

For those looking to get more green vegetables, but sick of the same old thing, bok choy is a different variant on a familiar veggie.

For those looking to get more green vegetables, but sick of the same old thing, bok choy is a different variant on a familiar veggie.

A few years ago while living in Emeryville, Calif., I appeared on a local raw cooking show in Berkeley. During my session, I made a fresh salad with bok choy (something I had never heard of before in my life).

Later, I found that bok choy was a Chinese vegetable very similar to cabbage.

On a recent grocery-store run, I gave myself a mission. I set out to get a variety of different vegetables that our family rarely or has never eaten—bok choy was one. When it came time to use it as a side to our main dish, I kept it simple by sauteing it in olive oil. Spices or flavors such as onion and garlic give the green leaves a little boost in dimension.

This vegetable with roots in China is sure to make you go hmm. If you are looking for something different to bring to your dining table, give it a try.

Be forwarned, though—like spinach, bok choy wilts to almost nothing when sauteed or simmered, so it takes more than you'd think to feed a family of three.

More About Bok Choy

• Bok choy is one of two types of Chinese cabbage, or Brassica rapa. The first subspecies is Pekinensis, and the second (aka bok choy) is Chinensis.

• Bok choy has smooth dark green leaves clustered together like mustard or celery.

• The vegetable can be spelled different ways depending on the country, including bok choi, pak choi. It also can take different names entirely—in English speaking countries, the food is also known as Chinese chard, Chinese mustard, celery mustard and spoon cabbage, and in China, one name literally translates to "oil vegetable."

• The name "bok choy" itself translates to "white vegetable."

• Health-wise, bok choy is high in vitamins A and C.

• The vegetable belongs to the same genus as cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower.

Sautéed Bok Choy

4 cups of chopped bok choy

2 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

In a medium saucepan on low-medium, heat olive oil for about three minutes. Add the bok choy, sea salt, onion and garlic powder and mix evenly. Cover the saucepan with a lid, leaving one side partially uncovered. After the bok choy has cooked slowly for about 20 minutes, remove the pan from the heat. Serve on the side along with different colored vegetables.

Serves three.

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