A hint of orange in the sauce brings out the sweetness of baby bok choy and fresh water chestnuts in this vegan stir-fry.
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 optional but recommended for flavor
- 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.
AlexiaSeptember 29, 2010 at 11:01 am
this looks so good, susan! i loveeee tofu!
2 questions: did E like it? just curious. and have you read alicia silverstone’s “the kind diet.”
SusanVSeptember 29, 2010 at 11:05 am
E did like it. She loves anything with tofu, and this had a lot of good, well-marinated tofu. She also likes baby bok choy better than most other greens. And no, I haven’t had time to read The Kind Diet, though I’ve heard good things about it.
Alexia @ DimpleSnatcherNovember 14, 2010 at 11:44 pm
i just saw your response. thanks!
it’s after midnight and i have a terrible craving to cook 😉
TraceySeptember 29, 2010 at 11:15 am
This looks yummy!
It’s past Bok Choy season up here, but I’ll keep this in mind for next spring / summer!
JL Goes VeganSeptember 29, 2010 at 11:18 am
This is a gorgeous dish!
Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary)September 29, 2010 at 11:43 am
I really love tofu stir fry’s! This one is SO pretty though Susan. I love that you used freshly squeezed OJ for the sauce. Great idea. I bet it gives it a nice bright note. I have a few stir fry’s posted myself… If you interested, links below 🙂
TiffanySeptember 29, 2010 at 11:55 am
Looks delicious! Thanks for sharing. 🙂 I never thought to look for fresh water chestnuts–no clue whether they’re even available where I live–but I’m curious now, so I’ll have to remember to keep an eye out for them.
Lisa BlairSeptember 29, 2010 at 1:19 pm
YUM! I am printing this out now. Looks like a fun departure from my normal broccoli and tofu stir-fries!
KathleeSeptember 29, 2010 at 1:23 pm
Wow, you outdid yourself on this one! I am so hungry now, just looking at the photo!
Susan PSeptember 29, 2010 at 1:29 pm
Ohhh- this sounds delish!! I made a simple baby bok choy last night… I heated up some Olive oil, fresh garlic, S&P then cooked the bok choy and then added some “yellow beans” I found at a farmers market.
KellyzkoolSeptember 29, 2010 at 1:40 pm
Susan, I will be making this in short order! Just curious, do you know where all that potassium comes from? I need exta potassium in my diet so am very much liking this recipe. One tip, I don’t often have OJ, and if I don’t have oranges I’ve found that a bit of my orange marmalade with a little water is a good sub. Thanks!
SusanVSeptember 29, 2010 at 1:52 pm
It looks like the bok choy provides most of the potassium (428 mg), followed by the mushrooms and water chestnuts. I guess I just happened to hit on a high-potassium combination!
KellyzkoolSeptember 29, 2010 at 3:36 pm
Oh, thanks! I’ve recently heard that bok choy is really good for you and now I have another reason to eat it. I’ve got a five spice pressed tofu that I’m going to try in this recipe.
DebbieSeptember 29, 2010 at 2:28 pm
Looks delicious! I am definately going to try this recipe.
DeeDeeSeptember 29, 2010 at 4:41 pm
Susan:> Your seductive photography blows away so many others. This is normally not a dish I am quick to make, but now all bets are off. Juicy citrus sauce, nutritious and tasty Bok Choy, meaty mushrooms, what’s not to like? Thank you O’ food artisan.
DeeDeeSeptember 29, 2010 at 4:44 pm
Susan Yes. We voted. Hereafter, you will forever be known to us as the
The Vegan Artisan. Fitting, we believe.
Trudy ~ veggie num numSeptember 29, 2010 at 5:26 pm
This recipe looks amazing and so colourful, wonderful ingredients, I have never seen fresh water chestnuts, how awesome. That citrus dressing sounds divine… yum!!
LeslieSeptember 29, 2010 at 8:00 pm
Saw this recipe in my email today and was already planning on making bok choy tonight so I picked up the rest of the ingredients I needed on the way home from work. It was delicious and a very different flavor combinations from the normal way I prepare bok choy. I omited the tofu because I wanted this as a veggie side, not the main course and my husband doesn’t like tofu (unless it’s deep fried and I don’t ever fry it). Also subbed apple for the water chestnuts since my husband won’t eat those either. I do appreciate you giving a substitute for the water chestnuts! I never would have thought of apple. My husband thought it was delicious!! I plan on adding tofu to the leftovers tomorrow so I can enjoy it as my meal. Thanks again!! ~Leslie
AngelaSeptember 29, 2010 at 8:08 pm
Yay! I’m always looking for good asian-styled dishes but really have to watch the sodium. I bet I could cut the soy sauce in half, add a little splash of low-sodium broth and still have a very flavorful dish. Maybe throw in a few more shitake for the umami.
Rick WargoSeptember 29, 2010 at 8:08 pm
Thanks, Susan! Had this for dinner tonight and it was delish! Boy did the orange rind add extra flavor – I think I will cut it in half next time. It’s been so long since I have had bok choy; I was enjoying eating it raw it was so good.
Amber Shea @Almost VeganSeptember 29, 2010 at 9:13 pm
Looks delicious as usual, and a perfect bridge between summer and fall.
AnnaleeSeptember 29, 2010 at 11:16 pm
Great looking stir-fry! Will definitely try it out when I have some bok choy.
Another great substitute for fresh water chestnuts is jicama ( sweeter but just as crisp). My mom uses jicama instead of water chestnuts for her won tons and other Asian dumplings and stir-frys. She actually prefers it over fresh chestnuts because jicama is easier to peel and less likely to be bruise or rotten. Not to mention also cheaper than fresh water chestnuts.
SusanVSeptember 30, 2010 at 7:28 am
That’s a great tip! Thanks for the suggestion!
StuSeptember 30, 2010 at 8:20 am
How many fresh water chestnuts makes a cup? I don’t think I’ve even seen a fresh water chestnuts before…
SusanVSeptember 30, 2010 at 8:28 am
Stu, I didn’t think to count them before I started chopping, but I’m guessing about 8-10. I’ve never seen them in a regular grocery stores either, just in Asian markets.
Kathy WilkinsonSeptember 30, 2010 at 8:56 am
Could you use jicama instead of water chestnuts if you can’t find fresh? I use it in my spinach dip with good results, but I’ve only eaten it raw, never cooked.
SusanVSeptember 30, 2010 at 9:09 am
I would just add the jicama in at the very end.
KatOctober 1, 2010 at 6:43 am
Will have to try this as I live in China and baby bok choy is probably the cheapest vegetable I can buy. Fresh (and already peeled) water chestnuts are available too, so this would be quite a cheap dish for us to make. I like the idea of baked tofu, but it’s oddly difficult to find non-silken tofu where I live.
Style Your Food RecipesOctober 1, 2010 at 2:17 pm
wow I got have to try this recipe. thanks for sharing.
KrisOctober 1, 2010 at 11:24 pm
This is great! My husband loves bok choy, but I always ruin it when I cook with it. I will definitely give this a try!
GinaOctober 2, 2010 at 12:07 pm
Wow. My mouth is watering. Great recipe. Thanks for posting.
JillOctober 2, 2010 at 4:01 pm
Absolutely wonderful…we had it two nights ago and it was very yummy. I like how light it is.
ValerieOctober 3, 2010 at 2:11 pm
Your recipes and photos are always inspirational and balance out my splurges with healthy meals! That’s why your blog was added first in my Blog Roll. Please visit http://veganfriction.blogspot.com/ for vegan reviews, recipes and more!
MaxOctober 3, 2010 at 2:57 pm
This was teeerific! Very light, but with a great flavor. Leftovers make a fine wrap, too.
KaylaOctober 4, 2010 at 3:06 pm
I love your recipes. They look so delicious, and I honestly can’t wait to start trying them out. I can only start next year, because I am only moving into a flat from my university boarding house at the end of this year.
So, my request to you is to PLEASE never stop posting your amazing recipes on your blog! Please?
Sarah @ BikingNBakingOctober 4, 2010 at 7:34 pm
slothbearOctober 4, 2010 at 10:43 pm
I bought some baby bok choi at Trader Joe’s this weekend with no plan, then found this recipe just before dinner tonight. Everyone loved it.
I never knew baked tofu was so easy to make — and the prepackaged baked tofu is often some style/flavor that I don’t want. I’ll be baking my own from now on. Thanks for the great recipe and inspiration.
Marilou GaronOctober 5, 2010 at 8:02 pm
Thank you for this superb recipe! I had to do some alterations because my fridge stock was low (no ginger, no water chestnuts, no mushrooms,no oranges) and even with Tropicana orange juice and no orange rind, the flavor was superb! I also substituted arrowroot since I now prefer its taste to that of cornstarch. I really appreciate this simple yet original stir-fry recipe, and have sent your link to many friends. Thanks again!
slothbearOctober 6, 2010 at 9:26 pm
I took a picture of all the ingredients before assembly. I really liked the colors.
lovemyfamilyOctober 11, 2010 at 9:25 pm
This was great everyone ate it. Hubby, 1 year old, and 3 year old. I just used orange juice too. Next time I would not add the baked tofu to the pan to steam it cause it lost that crunchy yummy goodness when I did that. I also would add the mushrooms when the carrots were suppose to be added and the carrots when the mushrooms were to be added. I just used canned water chestnuts too and doubled that cause my 3 year old loves them.
TriGirlOctober 12, 2010 at 5:09 pm
I made this on Wed….It was so good! I am not a big ginger fan so I cut the amount in half and it tasted great!! Thanks Susan for this fantastic recipe!!!
MerzieJuly 26, 2012 at 4:03 pm
I just made this recipe last night, and it was great! I added white onions to the stir fry, and found this to be an excellent addition! I will be making this again for sure 🙂 Thanks for sharing!