Pak Choi 白菜
Sunday August 30th, 2015 / Leafy
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Pak Choi / Chinese White Cabbage (白菜)

Pak Choi is a popular Chinese vegetable, and is often referred to as ‘bok choy’ or the ‘Chinese cabbage’. Pak Choi has two distinct varieties. The first, the ‘little pak choi’, is ironically the larger of the two, and can grow to around 20 cm in length. This particular variety of Pak choi is often used as a dried vegetable, which can be stored for months and used as a soup base. The other, known as ‘Sahnghai pak choi’ is thinner and has light green petioles. Overall, the Pak choi is a subspecies of the turnip, and they ultimately vary in size, colour and shape.

Generally, Pak choi is available in abundance in the cooler months of October to February, although there is one type that is available throughout the year. Pak choi is an incredibly nutritious vegetable, containing high levels of vitamins A and C.

The flavouring of the Pak choi is unique, and the versatility of the taste has made it a popular addition to Chinese cuisine. They can be used alone, or with other vegetables to help enhance the supplementary flavours. Pak choi have an interesting dichotomy of textures, with the stalks being crunchy and the leaves similar to that of spinach or lettuce. The tender texture of the leaves means that they lose volume as they cook, and can even shrink to around half the size from what it originally began at.

To prepare the Pak choi, first separate the leaves and soak them to remove any dirt. After washing and draining, chop as desired. Similar to spinach, Pak choi cooks incredibly quickly and should be served immediately as to retain the refreshing tastes and texture. One can boil or steam the Pak choi, making sure to season well, and also stir-fry along side other vegetables and meats.