How To Cut Bok Choy: What Part Of Bok Choy Do You Eat?

In my previous posts, I’ve mentioned how I like experimenting with Asian kitchen and that I’ve spent two beautiful months in Uzbekistan. It is my story on testing five different stainless steel rice cookers.

One of the things on my bucket list is traveling to China and exploring their culture. By now, I haven’t had a chance to fulfill that wish. However, I am “training” for my future China experience, here in America.

I can hear you asking, how? What does she mean – training?

Well, my dears, I’ve been trying to cook as much Chinese dishes as my hubby would let me. He is not a huge fan of Chinese cuisine, but he is a fan of my cooking, so I guess one thing compensates for another.

My dream is to stand side by side with some of their finest national chefs and say I can prepare at least some of their traditional meals, as good as they can. Of course, I can’t perfect my spicing or cutting techniques as good, but I can always try to do my best.

One of the vegetables from Chinese national cuisine that I started using regularly is bok choy. I am delighted by this grocery, and I am determined to help you learn how to cut it, for starters.

So, let’s roll up our sleeves and start the magic!

Further Reading: Vegetable Nutrient Chart – How Healthy Vegetables Truly Are?

Bok Choy – The King of Cabbages

Bok Choy, Pak Choi, Brassica campestris or “Chinese cabbage” is a vegetable of Chinese cultivar group. It has smooth, dark green leafs, shaped like blades, which form one cluster.

By their looks, bok choy leaves remind of celery or mustard greens. The name originates from Cantonese dialect and literally, means – white vegetable.

Today, this plant is grown across Europe and America, too. It is available year-round, so you can get it whenever you want, which means pretty often, in my case.

The whole plant is edible, and it tastes cabbage-like with sweet undertones. There are various ways of preparing this vegetable. You can cook its stalks and leaves, add them to soup, steam them, stir-fry, or eat them raw in salads.

The main reason why I like bok choy so much is not the taste, but the health benefits it offers. It is rich with vitamins A, C and K. Also it is a major source of calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese and potassium.

As you can see, it is practically a health bomb! It empowers your immune system, takes care of nerve and muscle function and improves your metabolism.

These huge health potentials of bok choy made it one of the many plants used in Chinese medicine. The antioxidants it contains had been related to cancer prevention. It also lowers your risk of unwanted chronic inflammation.

Learn: How To Make Chinese White Sauce?

Preparing & How to Cut Bok Choy Step-by-Step

Mine so far gathered experience with bok choy made the preparing process seem so easy.

It’s as I had forgotten how sloppy and clumsy I was when I made it for the first few times. Now I have developed a routine for easier and more efficient cutting.

I have shown this method to many of my friends, and they spontaneously adopted it and said it helped them. That’s why I hope this six-step approach will be valuable for you too.

Before we start, let’s make a list of the things you’ll need:

Before you take a knife in your hands, you should know something.

Curl up the fingers of the hand which holds the bok choy, towards your palm and away from the knife. Keep that hand at a safe distance from the knife, and move it away from the blade as you slice further along the vegetable.

Start with the slow slicing pace, until you get more experienced. This way you’ll avoid cutting yourself – safety should always come in a first place.

I’ve cut myself a dozen times, and I learned this lesson hard way, so please do take these precautions first.

1. Selecting the fresh bok choy brunches

  • The trick is to look for the heads with bright green leaves and for the white stalks that look crispy. Pay attention to holes and discoloration; these are the clear sign of staleness.
  • If you are planning on cooking soup or making a salad, look for larger leaves. On the other hand, stir-fries will work better if you choose smaller, narrow heads. This will help you speed up your cooking and avoid overcooking.

2. Trimming and discarding

  • When you’ve selected the bok choy that suits your needs, it’s time to start cutting. Look at the bottom of the plant. Bok choy, like any other sort of cabbage, has a thick base. You wouldn’t want to eat that. Use a sharp knife for this step; it’s important as dull ones are more likely to slip and cause injury.
  • Start by slicing half to one inch (1,3 to 2,6 cm) off the bottom. Make the cut just above the line where leaves are connected to the base.
  • Now you can get rid of any leaves that are discolored or unusually tough. Just pull them off and discard them.

You May Need: Sharpening Stone; Sharpening Steel; Knife Sharpener

3. Cutting the stalk in half

  • Use your sharp knife to slice down the middle of the bok choy. Remember, you are making a lengthwise cut. Start at the white base and end at the leaves.
  • If you are dealing with unusually large head, or you only want the bok choy sliced into smaller pieces, you can repeat this lengthwise cut on two halves you ended up with. This way you’ll create four smaller quarters. You can repeat this cut as many times as you need, depending on the size of a bok choy head.

4. Washing the leaves

  • If you thought all six steps were about cutting, you were wrong. Wherever you are buying your vegetables, they are dirty, and should not be eaten before washing. This step requires one big bowl of cold water and colander.
  • Separate leaves and swish them around in a bowl you prepared. To remove the dirt, gently rub the leaves together. Dirt usually collects toward the base, so pay attention to that part. When you estimate you are done with washing, drain the water using a colander.

5. Slicing into the smaller pieces

  • Finally, we come to the serious slicing. Cut across the stalks at a 45-degree angle. Cutting at this angle increases the surface area which allows the bok choy to cook more quickly. Start at the beginning of the base and slice up all the way to the top of the leaves.
  • Chop the bok choy into approximately one inch (1,3 cm) sections. If you want smaller pieces, just make the smaller cuts, be creative and follow your needs.

Further Reading: Best Vegetable Chopper

6. Taste the bok choy

  • Have you even cooked something if you haven’t tasted it? I don’t think so. Your cutting is finished. Go ahead and try the fresh bok choy, especially if it’s your first time.
  • It’s delicious, and if that is not good enough for you, think about all the health benefits I’ve mentioned. Whether you are a true hedonist, or you live a healthy life, or you are a combination of those two, the bok choy will suit you.

What Comes After The Cutting?

After the cutting, your imagination takes the turn. There are so many great recipes including bok choy, but there are much more to be invented. So try whatever pleases your senses.

In my manner, I like preparing it by the traditional Chinese recipe, which includes baby bok choy, and use chopsticks to eat. On the other hand, if you like spicy food, my husband’s favorite bok choy dish should be your choice. It is a stir-fry with garlic oil and oyster sauce.

I believe you’ll find your perfect recipe and I hope the bok choy experience will interest you in joining me in my dreaming of China journey.

Further Reading:Learn How To Cut A Papaya

23 thoughts on “How To Cut Bok Choy: What Part Of Bok Choy Do You Eat?”

  1. Awesome article! Thank you! We grow Bok Choy in our backyard and love it. I do have a question. When the center part of the plant is yellow/white-ish, does it still have nutritional value? Jo

  2. Glad you liked it, Jo!

    Yellow/whiteish color is the sign of losing nutritional value, but it’s still usable for a short while, Jo!

    Have a good one!

  3. I was using Bok Choy for the first time and trying a new recipe from a book of Stir Fry Recipes from 1984… And it showed the Bok Choy, and said to cut in pieces, but did not tell if one could use the leaves. I looked up your article and voila… Yummy stir fry was had! Thanks for saving my recipe for me! Love it!

  4. Are the leaves alright raw, like in a salad? I’m making wraps for lunch and realized I have no fresh greens, but I do have a bunch of this because I use it in soups so often. Would I be better off, steaming or sautéing to use for my purpose ?

  5. Dear,
    That is such a great question! Not many people remember to use bok choy for that purpose. I see we have creative and frugal cook over here. You can use the leaves raw indeed. Just don’t forget to cut off the white stalks. You can throw them in a pot and make soup later.

    However, not everyone feels comfortable using raw leaves. For example, my friend Caren likes her bok choy a tad softer, so she proposes another option. You can sprinkle green part of bok choy with olive oil, flatten it out on parchment paper and bake it for 10 minutes. The leaves will be nice and tender, and the olive oil seasoning will make them even more delicious.

    On the other hand, if you just want to throw in some bok choy leaves into your wrapper mixture and wrap it in lettuce or any other leafy green, I would recommend you to either go fresh or steamed. Cut your bok choy into ¼ inch slices, place it in a steamtable pan and steam for 10 minutes. This will do the trick.

    I hope this helps. Feel free to share your recipe with us once you try it out!

  6. This is my first time I’ve planted Pak Choi. I’t mid-May and has flowered. Do I leave it be, and let it grow?

  7. I have had my boc choy a few days in fridge. Now following your guide to prep for saute.
    I see little brown spots on the stalks; not bugs, but perhaps fungus? Is this safe to eat when cooked?
    Thanks for your generous time and wisdom.

  8. Joyce,

    I’m afraid your stalks have aged a bit in the fridge. If the brown spots (signs of decay, actually) are predominant on the stalks, please throw them away.

    Don’t risk your health, Joyce!

    Hope this helps.



  9. I’m making chicken ?soup for the 1st time, when do I add the Bok Choy ? to the crock pot. I’m cooking on low, started at 11:30pm for 7 to 8 hrs.

  10. Dear Norma,
    Bok choy chicken soup is one of my favorites. It’s super easy to make and crazy delicious at the same time. I don’t always have time to prepare it in crockpot or slow-cooker, so I go for 10-minute recipes, but I agree that your version gives much more succulent results.
    Even though you are pretty specific with the timing of your cooking (and I admire your devotion to such details in the kitchen), I have to disappoint you – my answer won’t be time-specified.

    The best moment to add in the bok choy is once you’ve already brought your chicken broth to boil and you’ve stirred in the spices and chopped garlic. So, technically, bok choy goes in last.
    You should cook it until it’s tender. Four hours is usually enough for baby bok choy, while the regular bok choy takes a bit longer. So, I believe your cooking time will be perfect.
    However, make sure to check it from time to time, so you don’t end up overcooking it.
    Have a great meal!



  11. Can’t say I’ve tried it, Brandy.

    Being the curious cook who always explores new ideas and recipes, I say go for it! ?

  12. Raisin bread, 6 or 7 bok choy leaves, torn in two, or to fit bread, only stem tips removed.. Peanut butter on both slices, to keep leaves from falling out, jalapeños cheese. Ready in three minutes, no pots, pans, dishes, fresh, cool, delicious, nutritious. EM…

  13. Hey there!
    Thanks for commenting, and sharing this simple – and tasty, I’m sure – recipe with us!
    I love straightforward recipes, especially when they don’t involve washing the dishes afterward – I’ll certainly give this one a try on a busy weekday!

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