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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

BABY BOK CHOY, "THE CUTENESS QUOTIENT", AND AN EASY SOUP

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Cute!
Saturday we visited our favorite little Asian Grocery store in Nanaimo, BC, and I couldn't resist what the Washington Post called the "cuteness quotient" of the baby bok (or pak) choy.

Baby bok choy is simply a miniature, immature version of the larger bok choy, but I like the texture better, and, as that particular article stated: "Cuteness quotient aside, baby bok choy are more tender and incomparably milder than big bok choy." Perfect for the soup recipe I had in mind. (See below.)

And, like other members of the brassica (cabbage) family of vegetables, bok choy provides lots of vitamin C, calcium, vitamin A, and glucosinolates, which may help prevent cancer.

So, this green vegetable is more than just cute.

Here's an easy, traditional home-style Chinese soup that showcases these little beauties!



Printable Recipe

BRYANNA'S BABY BOK CHOY, MUSHROOM AND DEEP-FRIED (OR OVEN-FRIED) TOFU SOUP
Serves 4

This makes a wonderful light lunch or supper. This recipe is adapted from a recipe in my book "Authentic Chinese Cuisine for the Contemporary Kitchen".

5 cup light vegetarian broth (see here)

1 and 1/2 lb. baby bok choy (Nai Yu), washed, dried, trimmed and sliced in half vertically (get the kind that are only 2-3" long for this recipe)
6 dried shiitake or Chinese black mushrooms, soaked in boiling water for 1/2 hour, stemmed, and sliced (save strained soaking water)
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 Tbs. oil
9/ 1 1/2-inch cubes of commercial deep-fried tofu
(OR you can use 3/4 lb. firm tofu cut into 1 by 1 1/2-inch by 1/2-inch triangles, pan-fried until golden in a little oil, or Oven-Fried as instructed below the recipe)
2 Tbs. soy sauce
2 Tbs. dry sherry or Chinese rice wine
2 1/2 cup cooked gan mian or ji mian (plain, thin Chinese flour and water noodles), or spaghettini
dark sesame oil, for garnish

If using the commercial fried tofu, pour boiling water over it, let stand for a few minutes, then drain it and squeeze out as much water and oil as you can. Cut the cubes in half.

Have a large soup pot containing the broth heating at a simmer.

Heat a large wok or skillet over high heat. When hot, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the bok choy, dried mushrooms and fresh mushrooms. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes.

Add these vegetables, along with the remaining ingredients, including the mushroom soaking water and the fried tofu, to the pot of broth. Let it simmer for a few minutes, until everything is hot. (You don't want to overcook the bok choy!)

Divide immediately between four bowls and pass the sesame oil to sprinkle over each serving. Serve with a spoon and a fork!

BRYANNA’S OVEN-FRIED TOFU

Use firm tofu. Cut the block in half crosswise, then each half in thirds horizontally. Then cut each piece into triangles. Place these on dark oiled cookie sheets and spray the tops with oil from a pump sprayer. Bake at 500 degrees F 5-7 minutes per side, or until golden and puffy. These may be frozen for future use.

Enjoy!

5 comments:

Spider63 said...

Wow, that looks like a great meal! Thanks for the recipe!

Melody Polakow said...

this soup looks amazing! I love baby bok choy too... unfortunately, when I get mine from our local asian market, the fish smell is so strong that it actually soaks into the veggies. Fortunately, my supermarket carries it as well.

Anonymous said...

That looks amazing!! Out of curiosity, which Asian store in Nanaimo? I grew up there (Lantzville actually) but the only store I can think of is the LULU store.

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Anonymous, it's Man Lee Oriental Food and Gift Shop in the Terminal Mall, just accross from Burger King.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Bryanna! I'll have to check it out next time I'm on the island!
-Laine