What is bok choy?
Bok choy, quickly stir-fried with garlic, ginger and chilli is an easy way to add flavour, colour and nutrition to the table. A staple in Asian cuisine, bok choy was introduced to Europe in the 1800s.
The Chinese who arrived in the 1850s during the Gold Rush introduced bok choy to Australia. Shining bundles of these Asian greens are now a common sight in supermarkets and fresh food markets in Australia. Nowadays, bok choy is grown in Europe, North America, South America, Australia and parts of Africa.
In Australia, bok choy is sold by type rather than variety. Those with a white stem and green leaves that are about 30 cm long are called bok choy, while those with a light-green stem that are 15 cm in length are called Shanghai bok choy (or pak choi). Shanghai bok choy has a milder flavour, with juicier leaves than bok choy.
Baby bok choy is also available. It is smaller (5–7 cm long) than regular bok choy and has white stems and dark green leaves.
Why bok choy is good to eat
Bok choy is an excellent source of vitamin A – one cup gives you 60 per cent of your daily requirement.
It is also a good source of vitamin C and is rich in vitamin K.
Bok choy is a good source of dietary fibre.
Energy – 100 g of bok choy supplies 80 kJ.
How are they grown and harvested?
Bok choy grows best when it is planted in a sunny position. The seeds grow quickly and start to germinate five to ten days after they are planted. The bok choy plant grows upright from the ground and has white stalks with smooth leaves that are glossy and green.
The vegetable is ready to harvest about six weeks after planting, once the heads are big enough. You can cut the outer leaves of the plants or harvest the whole plant by cutting it about 3 cm above the ground. It is best to pick the plant during cool weather (usually in the morning) to reduce wilting of the leaves.
Choosing bok choy
Choose bok choy with fresh-looking, bright green leaves and pale green stems. Avoid bok choy with wilted, yellow or damaged leaves.
How to store and keep bok choy
Store bok choy in an airtight bag in the crisper of your fridge. Try to use it within two days of buying.
How to use
- Serve as a quick side dish to accompany meat, chicken or fish – stir-fry in sesame oil with ginger and garlic until wilted.
- Add depth of flavour to your soups – chop bok choy and add near the end of cooking.
- Try a salad with a Vietnamese twist – shred cooked bok choy, add rice noodles, carrots and cucumber, dress with lime juice, coriander, fish sauce, garlic and chilli, then sprinkle some chopped mint leaves to garnish.
This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by:
Better Health Channel
Content on this website is provided for information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not in any way endorse or support such therapy, service, product or treatment and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional. The information and materials contained on this website are not intended to constitute a comprehensive guide concerning all aspects of the therapy, product or treatment described on the website. All users are urged to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions and to ascertain whether the particular therapy, service, product or treatment described on the website is suitable in their circumstances. The State of Victoria and the Department of Health & Human Services shall not bear any liability for reliance by any user on the materials contained on this website.