Enjoy your dark leafy greens in the best way possible with my bok choy stir fry recipe! Baby bok choy and a homemade umami sauce come together to create the perfect side dish.
Sautéed bok choy is one of those side dishes that seem to go with everything. Well, anything Asian-inspired, at least. I think they pair excellently with Chinese BBQ pork, these flanken ribs, and my Kung Pao chicken meatballs recipe. Instead of serving up traditional steamed broccoli or spinach, this stir fry is unique and flavorful. It’s good for you too, thanks to the vegetables. You know what they say about dark leafy greens!
I was inspired to come up with an easy-to-prepare side dish because it can make all the difference. Especially when you’ve just spent hours in the kitchen coming up with your main dish! Sometimes simplicity is key in cooking. That rings true in my bok choy with oyster sauce recipe.
That’s right – my not-so-secret ingredient is oyster sauce. Although it’s made from oysters, there’s no fishy flavor. Just delicious, earthy, and umami tones that make your vegetable stand out.
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Baby Bok Choy – It’s important to opt for baby varieties for this recipe. It’s sweeter and more tender than full-sized, which features a slightly nutty taste when cooked.
- Oyster Sauce – Don’t be thrown off by the name – although this sauce is made from oysters it doesn’t taste like fish. This is where the distinct umami flavor in this bok choy stir fry recipe comes from.
- Soy Sauce – This adds even more umami, plus a balance between salty and sweet that can’t be replicated otherwise.
- Minced Garlic Cloves – Just a little something else to cook your bok choy with oyster sauce in! The garlic plays off the other flavors perfectly.
- Sugar – You need to balance out the other savory ingredients with some added sweetness.
- Vegetable Oil – To sauté your veg! I like canola best, but you can use your preference.
- Red Pepper Flakes – Some added heat to top off your side dish. Feel free to omit if you don’t like spicy food.
- Toasted Sesame Seeds – For serving. They’re optional if you don’t like sesame or if you have an allergy.
HOW TO MAKE BOK CHOY STIR FRY
- Prepare Your Vegetables. Rinse your veggies thoroughly, then remove the end (where the roots would be) and throw out any damaged outer leaves. Slice each in half lengthwise.
- Sauté. Heat your vegetable oil of choice in a large skillet or a wok. Add the minced garlic and heat for around 30 seconds, being careful not to burn it. Add the vegetables and sauté for 2-minutes.
- Add the sauces. Flip the greens, then push them to the outer sides of the pan. Add the sauces (both soy and oyster) with the sugar and red pepper flakes. Stir and toss to coat the veggies. Cover the skillet or wok and reduce the heat. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until the bok choy with oyster sauce is tender.
- Garnish & Serve. Remove from heat and transfer the greens to a serving plate. Pour the leftover drippings from the pan on top, and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds if desired. Pair with the main dish of your choice. Enjoy!
If you’ve never stir fried before, don’t worry; it’s one of the simplest meals you can make! To see the process from start to finish, watch the recipe video located in the recipe card below!
What Part of Bok Choy Do You Use in Stir Fry?
You should use just the leaves for this recipe, removing most of the hard, white end of the vegetables before cooking. This is where the root meets the edible part of the plant. This section tends to be difficult to cook in a stir fry so it’s best to remove it altogether.
I like to purchase baby bok choy because the white part is tender, just trim off the base. If you want to steam or boil the vegetable instead, you can leave a bit more of the stalk attached.
How Long Should Bok Choy Be Cooked?
It depends on how you cook it. My bok choy with oyster sauce is stir-fried and should be cooked for about 2 minutes on medium-high heat, and then for about 1-2 minutes on low. If you steam the vegetable, it takes about 6 minutes. Boiling is a less common way of preparing them, but some people prefer this method! If that’s the case, boil for about 1-2 minutes or until tender.
How Do You Make Bok Choy Less Bitter?
The smaller, or “baby” version of this nutritious vegetable is much less bitter than its full-grown counterpart. As the dark leafy green matures, it becomes more bitter, which turns into a nutty flavor when cooked. If you’re no stranger to this type of vegetable, you know that it’s not rare to find a bitter taste in the leaves.
Some chefs recommend that you use a cold wok pan as well as cold oil to prevent a bitter taste in your bok choy stir fry. It’s worth a try!
Bok Choy Stir Fry
- Sesame seeds toasted optional
- Rinse the baby bok choy. Trim and discard the damaged outer leaves and root end. Keep root intact. Slice each bok choy lengthwise down the middle.
- Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat until hot. Add the garlic and saute for a 30 seconds. Add the bok choy, cut side down, and cook for 2 minutes.
- Flip bok choy, push to the outer sides of pan and in the middle add soy and oyster sauces, sugar, red pepper flakes, stirring to mix. Toss to coat bok choy. Cover and reduce heat to low heat. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until bok choy is fork tender.
- Uncover pan, transfer the bok choy to serving plate, pour pan drippings on top and sprinkle with (toasted) sesame seeds.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.