This post is sponsored by San Miguel Produce. We've teamed up with Jade Asian Greens, who provided the vegetables, to bring you an appetizing dish featuring baby Shanghai bok choy.
Considering how well-loved bok choy is, I was very excited to be given the opportunity to share one of my favorite ways of enjoying this vegetable on the Jade Asian Greens website. In this recipe, one of several I've developed for the farm in Southern California, baby bok choy is cooked with a fruity Chinese sweet-sour sauce to be served simply with rice.
Bok choy literally means "white vegetable" in Cantonese and may sometimes be called Chinese white cabbage. It is the Chinese vegetable most people are familiar with and because of its versatility, it is ubiquitous in Asian food, especially in stir-fries and noodle dishes. Baby bok choy, which is what I've used in this recipe, is basically young, smaller bok choy that's prized for its tender texture.
While bok choy generally cooks quickly, it may be necessary to pull the stalks of mature and larger plants apart before cooking and sometimes even separating the firmer white stalks from the tender greens to cook separately. The smaller the plant, the more tender it will be and this is why baby bok choy is often enjoyed whole and only mildly cooked to retain its tender crispness.
There are two types of bok choy, the regular kind with white stalks and crinkly leaves (right), which appears to be more readily available in supermarkets, and its green counterpart known as Shanghai bok choy (left) that has green stalks and wider leaves. Although both varieties can be used interchangeably, I find Shanghai bok choy to be milder and sweeter in flavor.
As Asian sauces go, the sweet and sour sauce is easily the most well-known Chinese sauce, typically used in meat stir-fries, like the ever popular sweet and sour pork. It happened to be one of my dad's signature dishes back when he was running a restaurant in Kuala Lumpur. While I have cut down on meat consumption, I never planned on giving up the appetizing sweet and sour sauce and have continued to use it in my plant-based cooking. As it turns out, the tender yet crisp texture and mild taste of bok choy goes really well with it and I especially like using baby Shanghai bok choy for this recipe.
There are variations to the ingredients used in making sweet and sour sauce, depending on your choice of sweetening and souring agents. Some recipes call for tomato ketchup but I prefer to use a mixture of rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar thickened with a little bit of cornstarch to make a lighter sauce that doesn't overpower the greens. For more crunch, I added onions, red bell pepper, apple, and pineapple. This dish is best enjoyed with fluffy, warm rice.
If you know of my passion for wholesome plant-based cooking and interest in farms, you'll know how happy I am to be working with Jade Asian Greens. Let me tell you a little about them. Jade Asian Greens is part of San Miguel Produce, a sustainable family-owned farm that processes and ships the greens they grow year-round in Oxnard in Southern California. It is the first packaged and ready-to-use fresh Asian greens on the market since 2008.
Greens are harvested daily to ensure quality. They are then washed, cut, and packed right before they are shipped out. You can find Jade Asian Greens in the produce section of your supermarket. They come in high-tech bags made of special, breathable material designed to allow gases to escape which helps keep the greens fresh longer. In my experience, they do last a long time in the refrigerator.
All words and opinions are my own, and I only recommend products and brands that I trust. Thank you for your support!