Bok choy, or pak choy, is a Chinese cabbage with white stalks and smooth, dark green leaves. It is commonly used in Asian cuisine, particularly Chinese dishes where it is braised, steamed, roasted, or stir-fried. The mild, slightly bitter-tasting leaves are excellent for taking on other flavors in the dish, and for soaking up sauce.

If you’d like to learn how to cut bok choy leaves then keep reading. This article will demonstrate several methods for preparing this vegetable. We’ll also include a delicious, quick recipe to get you started.

How to prepare a bok choy

There is minimal waste when cooking bok choy as the leaves and white stalks are both edible. The crispy, juicy stalks combine deliciously with the mild, peppery flavored leaves.

Option 1 – Cut lengthways

A simple option for cooking bok choy is to slice the entire vegetable in half lengthways. To do this, first, give it a good rinse to remove any unwanted dirt or bugs. Wash the leaves under running cold water paying attention to the stalks which tend to accumulate dirt easier than the leaves. Dry the plant by drip-drying in a colander or covering in a tea towel.

Place the vegetable on a cutting board. Without chopping off the end of the stalk, slice vertically through the whole bunch. A sharp knife will make the job easier and produce a cleaner cut, making for a nicer presentation when serving.

Bok choy sliced in half
Slice the bok choy lengthwise then roast.

The raw halves can be now be laid, cut side up, on a roasting tray. Splash with olive oil, lemon, and black pepper or your favorite seasoning then roast at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes until tender. The cooked leaves are excellent for adding color and texture to the plate.

Option 2 – Cut horizontally

There’s more than one way to prepare bok choy, but this is a simple fail-safe option. It is useful for soups and stir-fries if you don’t like the pieces too large.

  1. Cut off the white stalky end about ½ inch from the end and discard it.
  2. Remove any of the leaves that look wilted or damaged.
  3. Gather all the stalks together and place them on a chopping board. Slice off the leaves with a sharp knife. Cut the white stalks in half lengthways, then slice the stalks into 1” pieces.
  4. Gather the leaves into a bunch and slice into 1” lengths.
Cut off the stalk
Remove the stalk first.

If you’re sautéing and steaming the bok choy you can simply slice off the end of the stalk and cook the individual leaves whole. The leaves and stalks look delicious when cooked in their natural state. You’ll notice the leaves condense down as they’re cooked.

Did you know?
Cutting vegetables can be a lot easier when you have the right knife; especially one that’s designed for vegetables. We’ve written an in-depth review about two of the best knives for cutting vegetables. It is well worth a read.

Cutting bok choy
Cut into 1″ pieces.

Tips and fun facts

– When buying baby bok choy at the supermarket look for white stalks that feel firm and vibrant green leaves that haven’t wilted. Avoid bunches that have signs of browning, discoloration, or damaged leaves.

– Larger leaved plants are ideal for salads whereas smaller baby bok choy are ideal for stir-fries.

– Bok choy has been cultivated in China for over five thousand years. It is still grown there, but the United States and Canada now grow their own crops, thanks to its popularity.

– The bok choy is also called a “soup spoon” as its leaves are a similar shape.

– There are many different types of bok choi such as the joi choi and tah tsai. Each variety varies in taste, size, and color.

– It is good practice to separate the green leaves from the stalk and allow extra cooking time for the stalks. They are thicker and will require additional cooking time.

Stalks and leaves
The stalks cook slower so keep them separate.

How to store bok choy

Place the vegetable in a plastic bag or cling wrap, then discard as much air as possible. Seal the bag by tying a knot on the end or simply folding the end so that it’s airtight. Bok choy will last for up to one week refrigerated. When frozen, bok choy will last 4-6 months before losing its texture starts to degrade. Rather than thawing it, the vegetable can be cooked from frozen.

Recipe suggestion

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 bunches bok choy, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp honey

Method

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok on a high heat.
  2. Toss in the bok choy and cook until it starts to soften then add garlic, soy sauce and honey.
  3. Cook for 3 minutes until the bok choy is tender.

Watch a quick video

Frequently asked questions

Can I eat raw bok choy?

Bok choy is suitable for eating raw and is excellent added to salads or dipped into your favorite dip. Young, in-season leaves are preferable as they are more tender and less bitter than mature plants.

What can I use to replace bok choy?

If a recipe calls for bok choy, you can replace it with napa cabbage, long stem broccoli, Swiss chard, or broccolini.

Where can I buy bok choy?

Bok choy is available from most mainstream supermarkets, produce markets, and Asian grocers.

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Summing up

Bok choy is a delicious vegetable that is rich in vitamins, calcium, potassium, and phosphorous while containing low calories and carbohydrates. Just one cup provides over 100% of your daily vitamin A requirements and two-thirds of vitamin C recommended daily intake.

Preparing the vegetable is as simple as slicing lengthways and cooking. Alternatively, you can cut off the end stalk and then chop the remaining plant into suitably sized pieces for the dish. The leaves look quite large when they’re raw. But once tossed into a stirfry whole, they’ll soon wilt and reduce into a more manageable size.

What’s your favorite recipe that uses bok choy? Let us know in the comments below.