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Asian cuisine can be really fascinating as it offers dishes with rich flavors and sometimes exotic ingredients. It can be characterized by a uniquely strong, spicy flavor. You’d know that if you’ve ever gone through a Chinese Cookbook, a Japanese Cookbook, or an Indian Cookbook
One of the more outlandish, and exotic cuisine, is probably Chinese cuisine. It’s quite the gustatory experience and can sound really unappealing to us, westerners. Some people are put off by the fact that they eat bugs, however, dismissing a whole cuisine, based on just a couple of dishes leaves you missing out on such a rich and flavorful experience.
One can’t deny how healthy Asian cuisine in general is. It’s greatly balanced, provides, healthy carbohydrates that help sustain one’s energy through the day. That can be of great help if you’re not one to fill a Tea or Coffee Mug for energy. Not to mention how rich in fiber is actually is. Numerous health benefits come with it, and the ones we mentioned just begin to scratch the surface.
Before we go on a whole other tangent, talking about how great the Chinese cuisine is, let us tell you how to cut and prepare one of the stable vegetables they tend to use: bok choy.
We’ll be walking you through the process of preparing bok choy, which parts to eat, and which part of cut off. Hopefully, this will provide helpful information for anyone willing to get into Chinese cuisine and serve as some kind of initiation.
And now, without any further ado, let us dive straight in and tell you about bok choy, then, we’ll go over the process of cutting it, step by step. This is not going to be a long read, so no need to turn on your Popcorn Popper.
Bok Choy: What Makes ‘The King of Cabbages’
To start off, Bok Choy can be called a lot of things. Some auxiliary names for it are Brassica campestris, Pak Choi, or, if you want to be blunt, you can just refer to it as ‘Chinese cabbage.’ It’s a veggie of the Chinese cultivar group. It’s characterized by its blade shaped, dark green, blade-shaped leaves which all form one big cluster. The name ‘Bok Choy’ literally translates to ‘white vegetable.’ It comes from Cantonese dialect.
At first glance, bok choy can be mistaken with other mustard greens or celery due to the similarities in look and color.
The plant is grown almost everywhere nowadays and is quite common, so acquiring it should not be a problem.
While you might get the impression that not all of the plant is edible. Especially when the article is about how to cut the vegetable. The plant is indeed edible in its whole. However, it’s not wise to put the whole thing in when you’re using it in a recipe. Sometimes, you’ll only need the leaves and stalks.
In regards to bok choy’s taste, it’s pretty similar to that of cabbages. However, it has some sweet undertones, and there are plenty of ways you can prepare the vegetable. However, the most appealing aspect of it is the health benefits it provides.
Bok choy is an excellent source of vitamins A, K, and C. Not to mention that it’s also rich in iron, potassium, manganese, and magnesium. It’s pretty clear now why this is a staple vegetable in the Chinese cuisine. With so many health benefits, bok choy is such an excellent ingredient to put in your foods, as it improves your immune system, along with your metabolism, muscle, and never function.
The Art of Preparing Bok Choy
Fortunately for all of us, preparing bok choy isn’t an especially difficult task. If you’re clumsy or sloppy, or both, don’t worry. Just take your time and go slow, so you don’t cut yourself. Everyone has been there, and we can’t stress enough how important it is to take the necessary precautions when cutting vegetables in general. Wearing gloves is a good idea, but most importantly, start slow and only go faster once you’ve got the hang of the cutting technique.
Now before we move on to preparing bok choy, you’re going to need the following things:
Let us also remind you that if you’re not swift with the knife, then we advise you take it slow and not rush or anything of that sort. You should always priorities safety over everything, and always make sure to take the necessary precautions.
And now, without further ado, let us dive into the simple six steps needed to prepare bok choy.
#1 – Picking the Best Choy Brunches
Picking out fresh bok choy brunches is pretty simple. All you need to do is to look for the crispy-looking white stalks and most importantly, look for the bright green leaves. If you notice holes, discoloration, or anything of that sort, it’s most likely that the bok choy had already gone stale.
While choosing fresh bok choy is simple enough, picking the optimal bok choy brunches, it’s essential that you have a clear idea of what you’re going to use it for. Larger leaves are generally better suited for soup and salad, while smaller heads are more suited for stir-fries. Choosing the right bok choy for your meal will make the cooking process faster, and most importantly, will help you avoid overcooking it.
#2 – Trimming Bok Choy And What to Dispose Of
Having selected the adequate bok choy brunches, it’s time to cut it. As mentioned before, bok choy is like any other type of cabbage, meaning that it has a very thick bottom part. You’re better off disposing of that part using a sharp knife. It’s incredibly ill-advised to use a dull knife as it can easily slip and you could end up cutting yourself as a result. Use a proper Knife Sharpener, say a Sharpening Steel or a Sharpening Stone, to get the best, safest results.
If you’re wondering how much of the bottom, you should generally slice around 1.3-2.3 cm, that’s usually just above the line that connects the leaves to the base.
After having done that, you should then proceed to remove any leaves that seem stiff or discolored. You can simply just pull them off then get rid of them.
#3 – Slicing the Stalk in Half
Using a sharp knife, slice the bok choy right in the middle, you’re going to be cutting a lengthwise cut into the stalk. You should start at the white base and go all the wat to the leaves.
In case you’re dealing with an especially large head, do the same as above, then repeat the process on both of the halves you’re left, repeat the process until you’ve got the size you need.
#4 – Cleaning the Leaves
After cutting the stalk in half or whatever number of times you needed to, it’s now time to wash the leaves. You should always make sure your ingredients are as clean as possible. The bok choy you would’ve bought is most likely dirty, with most of the dirt being collected near the base of the vegetable. For this process, you’re going to need a colander, and one big bowl filled with cold water.
After you’ve acquired both of these things, start by separating the leaves and moving them around in the bowl. If you notice that some of the leaves are dirty, just rub them gently with each other to get rid of the dirt. As we also said previously, most of the dust will have been collected near the bottom base of the bok choy, so be sure to clean it meticulously.
#5 – Cutting into Smaller Pieces
Having cleaned the bok choy, it’s now time to move on into more slicing and dicing. Just slice into the stalks following an angle of 45 degrees, this will help accelerate the cooking process later on. When cutting the stalks, begin at the base and go all the way up to the leaves.
When it comes to the size of the pieces you want to get, they’re usually about 1.3cm (one-inch) sections. If for some reason you wish to get smaller pieces, simply cut the pieces you already have until you have what you need.
#6 – Tasting the Bok Choy
This isn’t necessary for the procedure, but it’s definitely fun to taste the bok choy you’ve just prepared before cooking it.
Let the Cooking Begin!
Now that you have your bok choy all ready for use, your imagination is the only limit when it comes to what you can do with it. No matter what dish you use it in, just remember that you’ll be doing your body a tremendous favor while doing it.
A recipe we would highly recommend for those who like to eat spicy food and is a great choice to go by is stir-fry with oyster sauce and garlic oil.
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