Bok choy, is classified as a cabbage. Nonetheless, bok choy bears little resemblance to the round European cabbages found in western supermarkets, or to Napa Cabbage for that matter. Its white stalks resemble celery without the stringiness, while the dark green, crinkly leaves of the most common variety is similar to Romaine lettuce. The Chinese commonly refer to bok choy as pak choi or "white vegetable." Another common name is white cabbage.
It is characterized by a loose, bulbous cluster of dark green leaves with firm stems, bok choy has a very mild flavor and a higher concentration of beta-carotene than any other variety of cabbage.
Cultivated in China since ancient times, bok choy is found in soups and stir-fries, appetizers and main dishes. Its popularity comes from its light, sweet flavor, crisp texture and nutritional value. Not only is bok choy high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C and calcium, but it is low in calories.
Because bok choy is a member of the cabbage family, you can cook it as you would a cabbage. When cooked, it has a sweet flavor and its stalks are firm. Baby bok choy is best when cooked whole and used as a side dish to a meat entrée. However, when cooking mature bok choy, do not cook it whole. Instead, first remove its leaves from their stalks and cut the stalks into pieces. Next, take the leaves that were removed and cut them into pieces as well. Both the stalks and leaves are edible. Common uses for mature bok choy include steaming or boiling it then adding seasonings to the bok choy such as soy sauce, ginger, or hot peppers. You can also eat the raw stalks of both the baby and mature bok choy.
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