Thursday, October 04, 2007

P is for Pak Choi - Because you're worth it!


P is for Pak Choi,also known as Bok Choy or Chinese cabbage. We first brought this vegetable home a few weeks ago and it sat on the scales in the centre of the kitchen.
It is a vegetable with huge green leaves that look like glossy tresses of hair. Pak Choi could easily star in a shampoo advert;'because you're worth it'. Not suprisingly, the Pak Choi,inspired a new game of vegetable faces, a mass vegetable movement that now means we have 46 vegetable faces from 4 continents of the world. You can see the slide show here - do send us your own version if you are interested. You can never have enough vegetable faces.
Pak Choi has been grown in eastern Asia for thousands of years and is a member of the mustard family. But don't worry,if you have fussy children, Freddie couldn't detect any off-putting mustard quality. (And he has a super-sensitive radar for strange tastes.) In fact he thought it tasted sweet. There are several kinds of Pak Choi but we could find two sorts in the markets; white pak Choi and Green Pak Choi. I figured this was one of the vegetables that would eat up my annual allowance of food air miles, but I was wrong. They are grown across Britain. Our first Pak Choi recipe was a stir fry dish which Freddie gave 8 out of 10. "The score would have been higher if you hadn't put red peppers in it," censured Freddie, who has decided that Pak Choi should rise to the highest category on the naming and shaming fridge. Pak Choi is now officially a vegetable he likes.

Pak Choi and Chicken stir fry
Serves 4-6
400g Pak Choi
1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced thinly
200g bean sprouts
Half a red chilli pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
30g freshly grated ginger root
4 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of sherry
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
500g skinless chicken fillet, cut into thin strips
1-2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
Slice the chicken fillet into thin strips. Prepare the Pak Choi by cutting off the leaves and cutting them into wide ribbons. Cut the stalks in half or if they are larger, into quarters. Heat half the oil in a wok or large frying pan on a medium-high heat.
Add the chicken fillets with the grated ginger root and crushed garlic. Stir-fry for 3 minutes. When the chicken is cooked through and golden brown, use a slotted spoon to put it on a plate. Add the rest of the oil to the wok, the Pak Choi stalks and leaves, finely chopped chilli pepper, red pepper and bean sprouts. Stir fry for 3 minutes at a high heat. Put the chicken back into the wok and add the soy sauce and sherry. Stir fry for a minute and sprinkle on top the sesame seeds. Serve with rice or noodles.
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  1. Pak choi (or bok choy) is one of my favorite vegetables. At our local Asian market, I can get the very tiny ones, which are great to cook whole, and the giant ones which are wonderful in stir-fry dishes. Although they are in the mustard family, they always taste more like cabbage to me.

  2. Yum - one of my favourite vegetables.

    I love cooking it in Malaysian style soups with king prawns, absolutely delicious.

  3. Lydia - they are really sweet and succulent tasting. we were really pleased with them. This is a vegetable, thinks Freddie, that he might not mind having again!

    Alice - I will try it that way. Sounds good.

  4. Hon, I think that pak choi and bok choi though they belong to the same family are different in terms of species. The pak choi is longer and slender while the bok choi is rounder and bulbuous at the bottom.

  5. Forget to tell you how lovely and inviting the dish looks. Also, you never did say how Freddie scored it :)

  6. Anonymous3:18 AM

    Did you ever try the baby bok choy? It's very nice and the flavors are subtle. I like what you did with yours. Thumbs up :)

  7. Cynthia - it was an 8 out of 10. Which was a great score. Sorry i forgot to write it in. We are getting so blase about high scores these days!!

    maryann -We did - we did another stirfry with them andthey are delicious. Sweeter and perfect for children.

  8. schmoof12:58 PM

    Bok choi and pak choi are the same thing, Cynthia - 'pak' or 'bok' in cantonese (its more like a hybrid of the two, the way you pronounce it) means white, choi is vegetable.

    That stir-fry looks so tasty, i'm always on the lookout for new sti-fry ideas and this looks great.


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