Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Bok choy

Prolific American cookbook author Barbara Kafka’s most recent book is the rather suggestively titled Vegetable Love. It’s huge, encyclopedic and white with beautiful multi-coloured text splashed across the cover, full of technique and an enormous array of (mostly) vegetarian-friendly recipes.

A bunch of organic bok choy, crisp and juicy from the market this morning, needed a new approach. Enter Babs and her Vegetable Lovin’.

Radiant Bok Choy. Radiant. What a word. Made me want to eat this immediately.

But you know what? Babs needs a bit of hand with this recipe. Though she claims in the introduction that, ‘This is one of my proudest [sic] recipes’, and it was very, very good, it needs some extra help to develop the flavour. Firstly she uses too much turmeric, a whopping 2 tablespoons – oh, the bitterness; oh the shirt-staining, jeans-staining, couch-staining horror - and secondly she uses far too much salt.

Here goes. It’s delicious. There’s a lot of sauce, so soak it up with some plain basmati rice.

Radiant bok choy, adapted by me – for 2

2 heads of bok choy

2 teaspoons of turmeric

Generous pinch of sea salt

1 small tin of coconut milk, mixed with enough water to make 1 ½ cups in total

A few slices of ginger

A few shiitake mushrooms, de-stalked and caps sliced (dried are fine – just remember to soak for 20 mins in hot water and drain before proceeding)

Tamari or umeboshi vinegar

1 lime, cut into wedges

Quarter the bok choy lengthways and give it a really, really good wash. There's always sand embedded deep between the base of the leaves.

Place in one layer in a large saucepan or lidded frying pan. Add the turmeric, sea salt, coconut milk-water mixture and ginger. Bring to a boil, cover and turn the heat down to medium. Simmer for 6 minutes.

Take the lid off, turn the bok choy over using tongs, add the shiitakes and cover again. Simmer for further 6 minutes.

Serve splashed with a little tamari or umeboshi vinegar to taste and arrange the lime wedges on the side.

A very yellow dish. Don’t wear white when you eat this. Turmeric makes the very worst kind of stain…


Susan said...

Bok choy is a favorite of mine. Nice to see a recipe that has a different slant than the more typical steamed Cantonese dish. Looks like I'm going to be stopping by your blog often. I need further incentive to commit to a diet of much more varied and neglected vegetables as I continually debate how much longer I will be eating meat of any sort. Besides, your photos are fetching. I love the star anise shot.

Lucy said...

Hi Susan. I love bok choy too. And I have a deep and abiding passion for coconut milk, so it's going to become a favourite. Just be careful with the turmeric...

kathryn said...

Hi there Lucy, thanks for this recipe. I came across your blog yesterday and made this dish last night. I did add a bit of tofu and some noodles (we were hungry). It was brilliant - lots of flavour, lots of nutrition and easy-peasy to make (it took me about 15 minutes).

Thanks again for the recipe, I think it will be a regular in our house

Lucy said...

Hi Kathryn, am very pleased you made it! Tofu and noodles would be excellent additions - I love tofu in anything with coconut milk. Let's face it, anything with coconut milk makes me a very happy girl!

Might just try your additions myself. This blogging thing is a fascinating way of idea sharing, methinks.