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…