If you ever order stir-fry garlic bok choy at a Chinese restaurant, it’s usually bright green, coated with a beautiful glossy sauce, and retains the perfect amount of bite. How do they do it, and how can we achieve these results at home?
Two KEY tips to achieve Chinese restaurant-quality stir-fry garlic bok choy at home
Blanching before stir-frying
With most stir-fried Chinese vegetables, blanching them first before stir-frying . Blanching involves dropping the vegetables in boiling water for a very short time, usually 1-2 min max, and then immediately putting the vegetables in cold or ice water to preserve the color, texture, and prevent it from overcooking.
Adding a bit of oil to the boiling water also helps preserve the color of the vegetables.
I will say that when I'm feeling lazy and just cooking for myself, I'll just add the veggies to a pan with ½ cup of water to steam for 1-2 minutes, and stir-fry them in the same pan afterward. But if you're looking for the bright green, glossy, restaurant-style veggies, blanching first is the way to go!
Using a stir-fry sauce
After blanching the vegetables, stir-fry it in a hot wok or pan for a few minutes with a sauce, usually made by mixing a bit of cornstarch, water, white pepper, salt, and sometimes oyster sauce for extra flavor.
You can use these methods with broccoli, and almost any Chinese vegetables and they’ll turn out great. Watch the video below to see how I make stir-fry garlic bok choy!
Check out these other popular Chinese vegetable recipes:
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Stir-Fry Garlic Bok Choy
- 1 lb Shanghai or regular bok choy
- 4-5 cloves garlic
- neutral oil for cooking (like avocado, vegetable, etc.)
- ice bath (water + ice for vegetables)
- 1 teaspoon oyster sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 3 tablespoon water
Prepare the ingredients
- Prepare a pot of water to boil. Make sure it has enough water so that the bok choy can be fully submerged.
- In the meantime, wash your bok choy and slice into halves. If you're using regular or bigger bok choy, then quarter them or slice into more bite-sized, long pieces. See video above for reference.1 lb Shanghai or regular bok choy
- Slice peeled garlic into ¼ inch slices.4-5 cloves garlic
- Mix together your stir-fry sauce.1 teaspoon oyster sauce, ¼ teaspoon salt, ⅛ teaspoon white pepper, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, 3 tablespoon water
- Prepare an ice bath by putting ice cubes and cold water in a large bowl.ice bath
Blanch the bok choy
- Add 1 tablespoon of neutral oil to the boiling water (this helps preserve the green color of the bok choy).neutral oil for cooking
- Blanch the bok choy for about 90 seconds. If your bok choy has a really thick core, you may need to increase this by 30 seconds, but you shouldn't blanch for more than 2 minutes.
- After 90 seconds, drain the bok choy and put them in the ice bath. This preserves the bright green color of the vegetable and also prevents it from overcooking.
Stir-fry the bok choy
- Heat up a wok or pan to medium high heat. Once warm, add oil and sliced garlic and stir fry for 1 min or until lightly golden.neutral oil for cooking
- Drain the bok choy and add to the hot pan. Season with a small pinch of salt and add the stir-fry sauce.
- Toss to coat the bok choy in the sauce, then stir-fry for another minute or until the sauce has thickened. Serve immediately for the best results!