Hand drawn image of Pak choi

Pak choi

Brassica rapa chinensis

Pak choi (sometimes known as bok choy) is a striking and sweet leafy green most commonly used in stir-fries. It's used abundantly in Asian cuisine, pairing with flavours like ginger, garlic, soy sauce, chilli and sesame. But its also got wonderful, succulent crunch that goes well in salads, or can be cooked as a spinach-like side dish. Pak choi is a relative of the cabbage.

Image of Pak choi being produced

In the kitchen

Storage

To store, keep pak choi in a bag in the fridge and use within 3 to 4 days.

Prep & Cooking tips

The pronounced-V shaped stalks will take more time to cook than the tender green leaves, so for most recipes it makes sense to separate the leaves from the stalks. Cut away the root end to separate the leaves and cut, rather than tear, the leaves away. If using whole, the root can stay attached and the head can be cut lengthways into long, handsome, tapering wedges.

The stalks can be sliced and stir-fried for 2-3 mins before adding the leaves for the final 30 seconds or so to wilt. None of it needs to be cooked for long. In many cases the succulent crunch of the stalks is what you want in a dish. Asian flavours are its most common bedfellows. Throwing soy, hoisin, teriyaki, chilli, ginger or garlic at it, in varying combinations, can rarely go wrong. Alternatively, they can make a perfectly simple side of greens for even the most prosaic dishes.

Easy ideas

Pak choi sometimes just doesn't feel right until it's paired with the salty, spicy and aromatic flavours of Asian cooking.

  1. Steamed It isn’t often we recommend steaming veg, but it is ideal for pak choi. We like to cut the larger leaves into long lengthways strips and keep the smaller ones whole. Steam for 3-4 mins until the leafy ends are wilted but the stalks still have a slight crunch. Dress with something savoury and salty before serving – soy, teriyaki, hoisin or miso all suggest themselves.

  2. Stir fry It works wonders in a hot wok as you get two textures. Divide the leaves and stalks, finally slice the stalks and add those first. Cook them fast and leave a bit of bite to them. Throw the leaves in at the end along with some ginger, garlic and chilli, and let them wilt and soften. Finish with a squeeze of lime and maybe a garnish of toasted sesame seeds.

  3. Brothy bowls Slice into generous strips and add a handful into a bowl of hot, fragrant, spicy broth for the last few minutes of cooking. A tangle of just-cooked greens are at home in everything from a bowl of ramen to a spicy laksa, or even a simple miso soup.

Goes well with

Asian flavours (chilli, ginger, sesame, soy, tamari, miso)

Meat (Pork, beef chicken & duck)

Fish & seafood

Mushrooms

Rice wine vinegar

Pak choi recipes

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In the field

  • Meet the grower: Riverford in the Vendée , La Boutinard, France

    Le Boutinard is Riverford’s organic farm in the Vendée region of France, 20 miles north of La Rochelle. The brilliant French grower team, led by Marco Altamirano, supply our boxes with loads of colourful veg throughout the year. There’s lettuces, sweet mini peppers, cucumbers, broad beans, aubergines, autumn squashes – plus some of our favourite unusual treats of the year, including Padron peppers, physalis and tangy Mexican-style tomatillos.

Seasonality

We grow little flurries of these tender Chinese cabbages on our French farm, and in Devon later in the growing year
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