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Experiment: Baby Bok Choy with White Wine and Oyster Sauce

This is the second vegetable dish I cooked to go with our Easter dinner of Roast Lamb (the other being Roasted Vegetables). I thought of doing something vaguely Italian with them but then decided on a sweeter preparation using Oyster sauce. Mixing white wine along with Oyster sauce may sound like an odd combination to some but I often do that when I cook my Beef and Broccoli in Oyster sauce and I also like the way it works here too… 

The Ingredients

  • 3 Good size Baby Bok Choy
  • 1/2 cup White Wine
  • 2 tbsp. Oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp. Sugar
  • Pork Fat for fast-frying
  • Salt and Pepper (not shown)

The Bok Choy need to be blanched, as per my ‘Foodstuffs’ posts here, and then be halved and have the hard bottom stems trimmed. The pork fat I used for this experiment is fat rendered as per my Pork Belly post. You can use a vegetable oil if you prefer but the pork fat lends a lovely flavor to the vegetable.

The Method

The cooking process here will involve three steps (including the blanching). The second step is to fry the Bok Choy at a high enough heat to create just a little caramelization and then, thirdly, to steam them to a finish with the sauce ingredients. For this dish, I used a ridged frying pan as in the picture below and you should use one if at all possible as the ‘grill marks’ it produces enhance the appearance of the finished result.

First, heat the pan to medium and melt a good tablespoon or two of fat. Before frying the vegetable, use a basting brush and coat them with a little of the hot fat. Next add the Bok Choy halves a few at a time and sear them for a minute or two on both sides until they just start to get tender and some nice browning develops here and there.

You will note, in the picture, that I am using a couple of sticks (cedar in this case) to support the tender leaves. This is an important step as they will wilt and possibly burn if they touch the bottom of and you want to avoid this. Likely you won’t have the same sort of sticks that I do but you can improvise using a couple of wooden spoons or something similar.

As the Bok Choy halves get seared, lay them attractively in a serving dish with the cut surfaces facing up. Next, mix together the wine, oyster sauce and sugar in a small bowl and then spoon it over the Bok Choy, making sure that it flows well into the crevices between the stems and over the leaves, the sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with cling film and, when you are about ready to serve your meal, microwave on high for two minutes or so (depending on your oven). Don’t overcook this…  you don’t want to lose the lovely green color… just get everything nicely hot and steaming well and then serve.

The Verdict

I came up this way for cooking Bok Choy for Christmas dinner the year before last and my wife and I really like it. Some people prefer cabbage and similar vegetables to be really soft but we like it with a little bit of crunch and this method really preserves that along with the nice fresh taste of the greens. You would probably want to up the sugar amount for a more Asian taste but the teaspoon I used here was just right for this meal.

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