A stir fried green leafy vegetable is served at every traditional Chinese meal. Baby bok choy is easy to find and very popular. It is delicious when stir fried in the Chinese manner. Lightly flavored, crunchy, and healthy, it is paired with rice and a protein dish such as mapo tofu. Buy bok choy at an Asian supermarket because it is much cheaper and much better quality. Garlic gives a great flavor to leafy vegetables. The vegetables are always lightly flavored because they are paired with strongly flavored protein dishes like mapo tofu.
The type of bok choy used in this recipe is baby Shanghai bok choy. It has light green stems and dark green leaves. It is called by many names. In Mandarin, the name of Shanghai bok choy is usually just 青菜 which means green vegetable. In Cantonese, they usually call it 白菜 which means white vegetable. 白菜 means napa cabbage in Mandarin though. You can call it 小白菜 or small white vegetable if you like. Comment below if you want to know more about the names of this vegetable.
Stir Fried Baby Bok Choy（炒小白菜 – chao xiao bai cai – chall syall bai [rhymes with “eye”] tsai [rhymes with “eye”, NO SILENT T], “stir fried small white vegetable”, or 青江菜 qing jiang cai – tseeng dzyahng tsai, “blue/green river vegetable”, often shortened to 青菜 qing cai – “green vegetable”)
8-12 cups of baby bok choy, cut each one in half (it will fit in a 2-3 quart container)
3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
3 slices ginger, cut into thin slivers (optional)
2 tbsp peanut oil, corn oil, canola oil, or “vegetable oil”
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp oyster sauce
1 1/2 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp Chinese stock
1 tsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp white pepper powder
1. Wash the bok choy very well, removing all sand. When no more sand, drain well, preferably using a salad spinner.
2. Combine sauce in a bowl.
3. Heat a wok until hot (a carbon steel or traditional cast iron wok- you should see one small wisp of smoke).
4. Add oil, garlic, and ginger. Stir fry 10 seconds.
5. Push aromatics up the side of the wok as you add the bok choy.
6. Sprinkle the salt, and stir fry for about 2-3 minutes until the leaves wilt and turn more dark green. They shouldn’t overcook or lose crispiness but they should not be raw either. You can set a timer to avoid overcooking.
7. Stir sauce very well, then pour into the wok. Stir fry 1 more minute to combine well.
8. Serve on a plate. Enjoy with rice and other Chinese dishes!