Prepared simply, Steamed Bok Choy, tossed in a spicy lime and sesame dressing, is an easy fresh vegetable side dish.
The first veggie bin of the year arrived last week ( #teamleeandmarias 🙏). You would have thought it was Christmas. My son hauled that Rubbermaid into the house and ripped off the lid to see what is inside. There was no patience. Everything, dirt and all, was pulled out and piled on top of the counter. Pictures were taken (I kid you not) and we marvelled about what we might do with it all.
Bok Choy is one of our favourite spring vegetables
The star this week was these bright green little heads of bok choy. Bok Choy is one of our favourites. We like it raw. We like it stir-fried. In soups. Always spicy. We like it with breakfast - try it, you will like. Hot and pungent chili and garlic fried greens are best at breakfast!
Lightly Steamed Bok Choy is fresh and delicate
But we also like bok choy just like this, fresh, lightly steamed. Still very crunchy. These are fresh and light flavours. Less pungent, more bright. This bok choy recipe highlights the fresh tender greens and will remind you it is spring. And also remind you that veggies are just so good.
How to steam bok choy
Baby bok choy is delicate and crunchy. It's the crunch that I like, so I try to keep that crunch in this recipe by steaming the greens very lightly.
To prep the whole heads of the baby bok choy, run them under cool water, gently pushing the leaves apart to remove any dirt that has collected between the leaves at the stem end.
Trim the stem ends. Remove as little as possible, cleaning up the ends to remove the dried and dark coloured areas.
Cut larger heads in half then let them hang out and dry while you wait for the water to simmer in the steamer. Don't worry about drying them between the leaves. Since we are steaming them it does not matter.
I like to use a large pot and this cheap steaming basket. They are easy to find and don't take up too much space in your kitchen cupboard.
How to keep bok choy crunchy
To keep the bok choy crisp and juicy, I steam them for about 3 minutes. Maybe 4 if they are larger. Mostly, I just want to brighten the colour a little bit. You might want to steam them a bit longer, say 5 minutes. But be careful, bok choy will easily go to mush and quickly. And it is mushy and over cooked veggies that give vegetables a bad rep.
For the dressing, you can whip this together while the veggies steam or while you are waiting for the steamer to come to a simmer. Lime, sesame oil and some spice. And salt. Don't skimp on the salt.
So in actual fact, if I wasn't trying to take a pretty picture, we would have eaten this right out of the steamer basket. My son standing at the kitchen island dipping the freshly steamed bok choy in the dressing and then into the sesame seeds - like little savoury dipping sticks. He tells me that the dressing helps the seeds stick to the greens.
But if you can wait to get these to the table. Plate the steamed greens in a serving dish and drizzle with the spicy lime dressing. Sprinkle over toasted sesame seeds and serve. That is it.
Easy Steamed Bok Choy
- 1 bunch baby bok choy 8-9 small heads
- 1 tablespoon light tasting oil grapeseed, light olive oil, or canola
- 1 tablespoon lime juice juice of half a lime
- ¼-1/2 teaspoon sriracha sauce to taste
- 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt plus more to salt the steaming water
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds lightly toasted
- To toast sesame seeds: Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the seeds and toss gently for just a minute or two, the seeds will toast quickly. As soon as they start to brown remove seeds to another dish to cool.
- Clean and prep bok choy. Cut larger heads in half through the steam end. Remove the very bottom of the stem ends to remove any tough pieces, leaving enough to keep the head intact.
- Fit a large pot with a steamer basket and lid. Fill pot about 1 inch deep with salted water and bring to a simmer over medium low heat. Once steaming, arrange bok choy heads in the steam basket. Cover with the lid and steam for 3-4 minutes until bright green and slightly tender. I like mine on the crunchy side.
- To make dressing mix together oil, lime juice, sriracha and sesame seed oil. Whisk gently and add sea salt. Taste, dressing should be bright, taste of lime and nicely salty. Adjust if necessary.
- Arrange steamed bok choy on a serving platter. Drizzle dressing over and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. Serve.