Thursday, June 28, 2012

Green Garlic Bok Choy with Ginger Lime Sauce

Bowl of Green Garlic Bok Choy with Sauce
Green on Green on Green

Recipe inspired by Panlasang Pinoy

It’s early summer and we’re still using up our green garlic from springtime. Luckily green garlic has a long fridge-life, as long as it’s kept dry. I use an air-permeable bag for veggie storage. My kale with green garlic experiment was such a success that I felt inspired to continue the greens & green garlic theme with the bok choy from our CSA share. I was thinking of a stir fry with fresh lime sauce and a hint of ginger. To balance the sourness of the lime and the slight bitterness of the greens, I wanted to add salty and sweet components.

To get some ideas, I searched on “garlic bok choy stir fry” and found Panlasang Pinoy, a fascinating website featuring authentic Filipino recipes and cooking videos. Chicago IT professional and home cook Vanjo Merano blogs about his culinary culture to help us develop our panlasang pinoy, or Filipino palate. Vanjo’s recipe uses dry garlic rather than green, and is flavored with tamari (salty), and brown sugar and oyster sauce (sweet). I can’t wait to try it once dry garlic comes into season!

Lime, Plum Sauce, Honey, Tamari
Delightful Sauce Ingredients
Vanjo also gave an excellent tip for stir fry success. Instead of adding the sauce to the almost-cooked stir fried veggies in the wok, remove the fully cooked veggies from the wok as usual (to avoid overcooking). Then, cook the sauce until it thickens in the same wok. Then pour the thickened sauce over the cooked veggies. We will definitely add Vanjo’s idea to Bruce’s List of Stir Fry Tips.

This sauce has all the limey goodness that I was after, but you could substitute Vanjo’s sauce without the garlic (since there’s green garlic in the stir fried veggies). Or make your own saucy combination of sweet, sour, and salty ingredients. Do be sure to use enough sweet ingredient/s to counterbalance the bitterness of the bok choy, especially if it is mature. Mei qin choi or similar green can be substituted for the bok choy. If the sauce isn’t perfect, you can always add a variety of condiments at the table: salt, chili oil, tamari, plum sauce, etc.

Now that the green garlic is all used up, I can be sure that it’s really summer.

Basket of Green Garlic, Leeks, Bok Choy
Eat Greens for Health
Green Garlic Bok Choy with Ginger Lime Sauce
serves about 5

1 ¼ - 1 ½ lb. bok choy
½ cup finely chopped green garlic
1 cup finely sliced leeks
1 ½ tbsp. peanut oil
1 tbsp. sesame oil
1 tbsp. water
¼ cup lime juice
3 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. plum sauce
1 tbsp. tamari
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger root
Extra lime for garnish/topping
2 tsp. sesame seeds for topping (optional)

As for all stir-fry dishes, prepare all of your ingredients before you begin cooking. For best results, make sure that veggies are dry before stir-frying.

Slice bok choy. Separate leaves from stems as you slice them into pieces about ½ inch wide. If some stem slices are wider than bite-size, cut them in half. Put stems and leaves into separate containers.

If sliced leeks are damp due to “leeking” liquid, blot with paper towel. Combine leeks and garlic with bok choy stems in container.

Make the sauce by combining lime juice, water, honey, plum sauce, tamari, and grated ginger. Stir together till completely combined. Set aside.

Heat a wok or frying pan over high heat. When wok is hot, add peanut oil. When peanut oil is heated, add sesame oil.

Add bok choy stems, leeks, and green garlic to wok. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Use a pair of wooden spoons or bamboo paddles, sliding spoons down below the veggies and tossing them up from the bottom of the wok frequently to ensure even cooking.

Add bok choy leaves to the wok and continue stir frying for 2 to 4 minutes, until leaves are wilted.

Remove wok from heat.  Transfer the veggies from the wok to a serving bowl immediately to prevent overcooking.

Heat wok again and add the sauce mixture. Cook for until the sauce thickens and reduces by about half, about 3 minutes.

Drain the cooked veggies to remove any liquid that seeped out after cooking. Pour the thickened sauce over the veggies, toss, and serve with lime, a sprinkle of sesame seeds, or whatever condiments you like.

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