I love baby bok choy. With its crisp, light green stalk and its leafy dark green top, it’s almost like two vegetables. The leafy parts cook in seconds, so I always separate them from the bottom halves as I slice them and toss them in at the end of cooking to retain their bright green color and fresh taste. If you’ve only had full-sized bok choy, you really owe it to yourself to seek out their baby relatives, which are, in my opinion, much more tender and much less bitter. And much cuter–can’t forget the cute factor!
You know what else is cute? Fresh water chestnuts. Though they’re not much fun to peel, fresh water chestnuts have a sweet taste that the tinny-tasting canned version totally lacks. I was lucky to find both baby bok choy and fresh water chestnuts on a recent trip to New Orleans, and while two cute vegetables don’t necessarily make a cute stir-fry, in this case they make a tasty one, a hint of orange in the sauce bringing out the sweetness of both the water chestnuts and the bok choy. If you can’t find fresh water chestnuts, you can substitute canned or–here’s a wild idea–diced apple. If you can’t find baby boks, adult ones will do, but their flavor is not as delicate and they’ll take longer to cook.
Bok Choy and Baked Tofu Stir-Fry in Ginger-Citrus Sauce
- 1 1/2 pounds baby bok choy about 5
- 1 14- ounce package extra-firm tofu pressed, marinated and baked (or 8 ounces packaged baked tofu)
- 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
- 2 teaspoons agave nectar or natural sweetener to taste
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon dark sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 large carrot cut into matchsticks
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger root
- 1 cup slivered water chestnuts from peeled fresh water chestnuts or canned, drained
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 6 ounces cremini or shiitaki mushrooms sliced
- Wash the heads of bok choy well and trim the bottom. Cut the bottom, whitish part of the stalk into 1/2-inch slices. Set them aside and slice the green leaves thinly and place on a separate plate.
- Cut the tofu into slices or cubes. Combine the orange juice, soy sauce, agave, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and cornstarch in a small bowl.
- Heat a large wok or deep skillet. Add a splash of water, if necessary to prevent sticking, and add the bok choy stalks, carrot, and ginger. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add water chestnuts, garlic, and mushrooms and continue to cook until mushrooms begin to soften, about 2 more minutes. Stir in the bok choy greens, place the tofu on top, and cover tightly. Steam briefly until greens are wilted and bright green, about 1-2 minutes. Stir the orange juice mixture, add it to the skillet, and bring to a boil. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 30 seconds. Serve with rice or other grain.
Nutritional info is approximate.