My friend Naam [rhymes with "tom"] is a-naam-azing. We've been friends for less than a year but oh! it's nice to make a new friend! In our first email exchange last year, she invited me and 25 other St. Louis food bloggers to lunch – not out to lunch, mind you, but to lunch in her home. Turns out, lunch is Naam's "thing" and quite often, she'll invite a friend or two for a sit-down, multi-course light lunch. It's about friendship, about conversation, about connection.
Naam is Thai and both times I've been for lunch, she's served Asian food. On Tuesday, three of us sat down to a Japanese lunch. Twas lovely: a mushroom soup in a deep-dark broth, miso salmon, rice and this Easy Steamed Bok Choy Salad. After I'd gobbled down the small plate of salad before touching either the salmon or rice, Naam chided with a smile, "The idea is to eat them together!" Well, so okay, that's me. Without even thinking, I always-always-always taste the vegetables first. But Naam's bok choy was so simple and delicious, I just didn't stop!
Home again, I've already made the Easy Steamed Bok Choy Salad twice. Apparently I'm still not ready to stop! I hope you like it half as much!
But first, who's by chance "new" to bok choy? It's an Asian green but to my mind, the most approachable because it's only "half green" – the stalks are crisp and wet like a really juicy rib of celery but minus the strings. The leaves are nearly as tender as spinach or tender kale. It's worth seeking out! My grocery carries big heads of bok choy, they'd be fine too, but baby bok choy are especially tender. And cute! Cute for lunch is good!
RECIPE for EASY STEAMED BOK CHOY SALAD
Time to table: 15 minutes
Serves 4 or 8
1 pound baby bok choy
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 - 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, to taste
Toasted sesame seeds
STEAM BOK CHOY Break off the stalks and wash well under running water. Steam the bok choy, either in the microwave or on the stovetop. To steam in the microwave, place bok choy in a shallow container, preferably only one or maybe two stalks deep; add a tablespoon or two of water, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 4 or 5 minutes until leaves are soft and stalks softer but still slightly crunchy. To steam on the stovetop, place bok choy in a steamer basket atop a pot with an inch or two of boiling water; cover and let steam for 4 or 5 minutes. (Think about "how cooked" you want the bok choy. If you prefer it soft and supple, you'll want to steam it longer.) If needed, drain.
MIX DRESSING In a small bowl, mix all dressing ingredients. Pour over dressing over the hot bok choy, turn the container if needed to help the bok choy marinate in the dressing. Let cool to room temperature turning occasionally.
SERVE To serve, sprinkle with sesame seeds. To my taste, Easy Steamed Bok Choy Salad is best served at room temperature.
MAKE-AHEAD Make this ahead of time, cover and refrigerate but do return to room temperature before serving. I like it best after about 24 hours.
ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
WHAT IS MIRIN? Mirin is a Japanese condiment similar to rice wine but with lower alcohol and higher sugar. Interestingly, in these days of avoiding refined sugars, mirin's sugar is a complex carbohydrate (that's the good kind) that's formed naturally in the fermentation process. It is not a refined sugar. Look for it with other Asian ingredients at well-stocked grocery stores.
MICROWAVE vs STOVETOP STEAMING I slightly preferred the texture of the bok choy steamed on the stovetop.
SALT My low-sodium soy salt left me wanting just a touch of salt sprinkled over the top of the greens after they were cooked and marinated.
HOW BIG IS A PORTION SIZE? Regular readers know that the "standard" portion size for A Veggie Venture calls for a pound of vegetables serving four. Some times (think roasted potatoes) that seems a little skimpy. Here, with bok choy, a little seems to go a long ways, that's why I provide nutrition information for both 4 and 8 servings.
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MORE FAVORITE BOK CHOY RECIPES
~ Bok Choy Salad with Homemade Creamy Vinaigrette ~
~ Bok Choy Salad with Chinese Salad Dressing ~
~ Soy-Glazed Bok Choy ~
~ more bok choy recipes ~
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