Mmm, bok choy.
I love me some bok choy. I was first introduced to this vegetable in my high school Food and Nutrition class, and I loved it at first sight. Aside from being a lot of fun to say, bok choy is delicious, juicy, and very good for you. But despite my love for this vegetable, I don’t buy or cook with it very often. You’d think I would, especially since I love stir-fry’s, but alas, nothing inspired me enough to add it to my grocery cart.
That is, until I leafed through Isa Chandra Moscowitz and Terry Hope Romero’s Veganomicon and saw a recipe for Baby Bok Choy with Shallots and Sesame Seeds. Suddenly, bok choy was a must-buy! The recipe had it all – flavors I loved, tasty vegetables at the front and center, minimal flavorings/seasonings, and to top it off, it seemed quick to prepare. Success! The only addition I saw fit to add was seitan for a little added bulk. Presto, an instant and light dinner!
To start, I took one medium shallot and cut it into small coins and half moons. I then heated up some toasted sesame oil in a skillet and fried the shallots for six minutes. The recipe calls for peanut oil but I didn’t have any, so I used the sesame oil since I love the flavor. Per the book’s instruction, I cut up the shallot pieces with a spatula so the coins/half moons would break apart into individual pieces. Once they were done I transferred them to a small bowl.
In the meantime, I started cooking up the seitan in a separate skillet, first cutting it into tiny strips so it would get nice and crispy. I cooked the seitan for the duration of the entire dish, just in a little bit of oil and some water when they started to seem dry.
Once the shallots were done, I started up the baby bok choy. While the shallots were cooking, I prepped the bok choy by cutting off the bottoms, then cutting across the bigger leaf/stem pieces diagonally to reduce their size. Taking the bok choy apart though was like opening a Russian doll, in that smaller pieces were found underneath the big ones; so I didn’t have to slice all of the pieces.
The book recommends adding the bok choy directly to the skillet that the shallots were cooked in. However, you will need a lid for part of the cooking; so if you don’t have a fancy skillet that comes with a lid, I recommend using a large saucepan. I did this and my bok choy turned out fine. After adding a little bit of oil, I threw the bok choy into the pan, then added some dry powdered ginger. The book calls for fresh ginger root but I was all out. After sauteing for a bit, you add some soy sauce (once again, I used Bragg’s liquid aminos) and mirin, stirring some before covering the pot with a lid and steaming for two minutes. Once this amount of time has passed, you saute for about 30 seconds, and then it’s ready!
During the two minutes, the seitan is just about finishing up. I added the shallots back to the skillet with the seitan so they could reheat. Once the bok choy was finished, I put that on the plate first, followed by the seitan/shallot combo, and finished with sesame seeds. This dish can be served alone or over rice, and it’s deceptively filling. The seasonings don’t overpower the bok choy, but give it a nice little zip; and it’s also not too oily or greasy like you’ll typically find from take-out stir-fry’s. Definitely give it a try! The apple, though, is optional.