Winter greens – bok choi with mushrooms, soy and oyster sauce
I searched Tastespotting and Foodgawker recently for winter recipes, and I was finished looking in under half an hour. Most of the recipes involved things like “injecting some spring into your winter,” or using summer veges preserved from the summer. Unfortunately, my tomato harvest only just covered my summer appetite, and buying spring veges is expensive. However, I do have plenty of bok choy in the garden, and because it’s a winter vegetable, there are plenty of cheap bok choy options at the green grocers, asian supermarkets, and even regular supermarkets. Obviously, the Asian route will be cheapest and freshest, plus there are heaps of little varieties that are perfect for this dish.
This is my favourite way to have bok choy now. It’s a little more effort than simply flash-cooking it in the pan with some oil and salt, but ZOMG it is so worth it. Plus the mushrooms soak up all the saucey flavoury goodness and taste phenomenal. If you use little bok choy, they look soo cute and pretty too! Especially arranged in a circle with the bok choy acting as petals, and the mushrooms in the middle…and sauce drizzled all…over…*drools*
By the way, before I divulge the recipe, if you have any space for growing bok choi, it grows fine in winter (you may want to start the seeds off inside and then transplant them to speed the process up) and is actually improved by frosts once slightly matured. It’s soooo much nicer home grown, and you can always peel off the outer leaves and it will keep growing quite happily. Slugs are more of a problem in summer, so now or early spring is a great time to plant them. Kings Seeds offer the best selection (search Pak choi) – if you want to save the seed, remember not to get hybrid varieties. Other names this goes by is: Pak Choi, Bai Chai (Mandarin), “Asian” Greens.
Bok Choi with mushrooms, soy & oyster sauce.
makes one plate serving two as a side dish
one medium sized bunch (about 400g) small bok choy, halved vertically (along the stem). If using just leaves, cut in half horizontally (across the stem), or if using fully mature bok choy, quarter each one vertically. Make sure to wash the dirt from in between the leaves (do this by peeling back the leaves gently without detaching them).
6 button mushrooms halved, or 2 portobello mushrooms, cut into sixths, or shiitake mushrooms soaked overnight, sliced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbs cooking oil
4 Tbs light soy sauce
1 tsp oyster sauce
pinch salt and pepper to taste
sesame oil for drizzling
Mix soy sauce and oyster sauce together until oyster sauce is fully dissolved in a small bowl, and set aside.
In a large frypan, heat cooking oil on medium high heat. Once the pan is hot, throw in garlic and mushrooms, and cook until one side of the mushrooms has changed colour to be slightly translucent looking. Add all the bok choi stems first, and let cook for about 15 seconds before flipping with tongs. Add soy and oyster sauce combination, turn off heat, and stir sauce in. Let bok choi leaves wilt (you may want to leave some slightly unwilted, as they will wilt further once plated) and stems go slightly translucent and greener, and plate with tongs, arranging however you like (they look prettiest with the middle showing, as pictured below. Drizzle over sesame oil, add a sprinkling of black pepper if desired, and nom.