Pak choi, also known as bok choi, is a leafy green that comes from the Cruciferae (or Brassicaceae) family. It is a type of Asian cabbage and its name derives from the Cantonese meaning “white vegetable”. Archaeological excavations in China have shown it to be one of Asia’s oldest cultivated vegetables at almost 6000 years old!
As it is a winter-hardy vegetable, pak choi has been increasingly cultivated in northern Europe. Here at Locavore, we grow pak choi up at the Left Field market garden and in our glasshouse at Rouken Glen.
With crisp and crunchy snow-white stalks and beautiful dark green leaves, pak choi has a mild flavour akin to spinach or spring greens. Baby pak choi can be eaten raw but in general, it is best served cooked. As a traditional Asian vegetable, pak choi unsurprisingly lends itself to lots of Asian dishes such as stir-fries and ramen. If you want to speed things up further, you can simply steam or blanch in salted water for a few minutes, which will retain the flavours of the pak choi nicely.
All year round, though peaks in winter.