I am making a Sichuan flavored tri-tip for Sunday’s dinner. All that meat needs some vegetables to go with it. I saw some tiny baby Shanghai bok choi in the market and I thought that they would just fit the bill.
In the past, I would almost always add garlic to a dish like this, but daughter Miriam has been off garlic for several months now. I am having to adapt many of my recipes to her new needs. Searing the vegetables added new and interesting flavors—through the Maillard reaction—that made up for the lack of garlic.
Karl’s Seared Baby Bok Choi with Oyster Sauce
2 Tbs. oyster sauce (vegetarian oyster sauce for Vegan)
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1 tsp. ginger, slivered
1 lb. small baby Shanghai bok choi (2 ½-3 inches)
1 Tbs. peanut oil
1 tsp. corn starch stirred into 1 Tbs. water
1. Mix the sauces and ginger, in a small bowl, and reserve them.
Tip: When stir frying, it is always important to have all of your spices and sauces measured. When you start cooking these is no time to get out the measuring spoons.
2. Slice through the base of each bok choi and pull them in two.
3. Bring the oil to a high heat in a large saute pan.
4. Put the bok choi in the pan and leave them, undisturbed, for 1½ to 2 minutes.
Tip: You want the bottoms of the vegetables to get very well browned, but not burnt.
5. Toss the bok choi to redistribute the vegetables.
Tip: Try to make sure that no one bok choi ends up on the same side.
6. Sear the vegetables for another 2 minutes and toss again.
7. Pour the sauce over the vegetables and stir fry for another 2-3 minutes until the bok choi is cooked through.
8. Add just enough of the cornstarch to thicken the sauce.
9. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately.
Tip: Steamed rice goes well with this dish.