NOTE: An updated version of this recipe appears in my cookbook, The Ancestral Table.
There are several types of chinese cabbage out there in the wide wide world (or your local supermarket), so let’s learn them real quick. Won bok (“napa” cabbage) is the large, football-shaped heads of cabbage that are used in making kimchee. Bok choy resembles celery but with large green leaves (as seen above). Lastly, choy sum is the inner core of bok choy, with narrow, green stalks. Now that the hard stuff is out of the way, here’s how to steam bok choy for an interesting and nutritious side dish.
4-6 heads of bok choy
1 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp tamari or coconut aminos
1 tsp each fish sauce, sesame seeds, potato starch
1/2 tsp white pepper
4 garlic cloves, chopped
Place a steamer rack in a pot, and fill it with 1/2 inch of water. Wash the bok choy and place them on the steamer rack and bring to a boil. Cover and steam for 20 minutes, until the leaves are softened and dark green.
While the bok choy is steaming, combine the rest of the ingredients (minus the potato starch) in a sauce pan. Simmer for 15 minutes. Mix the potato starch with a little water, then add to the sauce, stirring constantly. Continue to simmer until the sauce is fairly thick.
Remove the steamed bok choy and place in a platter, and pour the thickened sauce on top. Serve immediately.