In today’s day and age, the protein and the starch in a meal often get all the prep time and attention, while the vegetables are an afterthought. For example, in a typical Canadian meal the chicken will take the most time to season and roast, the mashed potatoes will take time to prep, boil and mash, and then when it comes time to add a vegetable, I don’t want to spend any more time in the kitchen so I’ll quickly heat up some frozen peas. In a typical Asian meal, I will spend time in marinating and preparing the salmon, rinsing and getting the rice into the rice cooker, and then I’ll draw a blank on what kind of vegetable I can add to the meal. All too often for these Asian meals, I will slice up some cucumber and dip them in soy sauce to eat as a side (this is the Vietnamese version of frozen peas!).
However, I’ve been trying to make an effort to give vegetables and greens the same care and attention in my meal prep as well. One of my favourite vegetables to have as a side for Asian meals is bok choy. I’ve shared my bok choy salad recipe with you before, but this time, let’s do a bok choy stirfry.
Even for a bok choy stirfry, there are varying scales of effort and difficulty. A more difficult recipe will call for chicken stock or bouillon for flavour and cornstarch to thicken up the sauce. I don’t really care for these recipes, as they remind me of a basic Chinese restaurant stirfry with that slimy, thickened sauce texture. Instead, I prefer to keep my bok choy stirfry simple so that the freshness of the greens still shine through. My bok choy stirfry only calls for three common pantry ingredients for seasoning that any self-respecting home cook should have on hand at all times – garlic, ginger, and soy sauce.
This stirfry makes for a fresh and crisp side to any Asian meal. What are your favourite vegetable side dishes?
I love eating salads….but I hate making them at home. Whenever we go out, I will usually order a salad of some kind because I hate making my own salads. What do I hate about it? I hate washing all the produce. I hate having to prep multiple ingredients to make a colourful, flavourful salad. My thought process is: if I’m going to spend lots of time in the kitchen prepping food, I’d rather it be for a comforting, hearty, hot meal…not a salad.
However, I have been known to suck it up and make this baby bok choy salad from time to time. Bok choy is a Chinese leafy cabbage that has been gaining more popularity in Western cuisine recently due to its high nutritional qualities. Bok choy is low in calories, and high in vitamins K, C, and A. Bok choy is more commonly known as “that vegetable in Chinese stirfrys”.
I received some beautiful baby bok choy in the organic bin that I got from Body Fuel Organics a couple weeks ago. Baby bok choy is just the less mature version of bok choy, and its taste is milder which makes it perfect for raw salads.
When prepping bok choy, make sure you wash them really well. Growing straight from the ground, there’s always a lot of dirt caught in the bottom of the crunchy stems. I like to cut the bottom couple inches off the bok choy and discard, then chop the remaining stems and leaves up into bite size pieces, then wash and drain the cut pieces really well. You can add whatever other vegetables you want to the salad but I like to stick to other vegetables commonly used in Asian cuisine, such as red peppers, shredded carrots and green onion.
What makes this salad so delicious is the salad dressing. The salad dressing is light and bright, with Asian flavours that ties everything together. I usually just eyeball the salad dressing ingredients, so I’ve just estimated what the measurements are for this recipe. Feel free to adjust the ingredients to your taste!