Philacatessen | Pak Choi, Bok Choy’s Greener Cousin


In my continuing quest to discover new and exciting things at the local farmers market, I happened upon Pak Choi.

When I asked the farmer what it was, he said it was very similar to bok choy, but its green-to-stalk ratio was higher. As an eater who prefers the leafy green parts to the tougher stalk parts, this seemed like a great vegetable to try. I bought two bunches, brought them home and planned to serve them with our Sunday dinner.

My go-to method for cooking most greens is to sauté them in olive oil with garlic, salt and crushed red pepper flakes, so I used a version of that, adding cumin seeds to complement our honey chipotle-marinated flank steak.

The farmer’s description was accurate, if a tad precise for the average consumer. Full disclosure: The pak choi was indistinguishable from its more common cousin, especially after it was cooked, but we enjoyed it nonetheless.

Here’s what I did.

Sauteed Pak Choi

Serves 4

2 bunches pak choi

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more or less to taste)

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

Cut the very bottom stem off the pak choi and rinse thoroughly. If the greens seem gritty, soak them in a bowl of cold water and shake them around to get rid of the dirt. Drain.

In a large skillet, heat the oil, salt, garlic, cumin and pepper until they begin to sizzle. Add the greens and turn over with tongs until they are just cooked, about 6 minutes.


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