Easy Stir-Fried Bok Choy

This is probably one of the simplest preparations I’ve ever used for bok choy, but it’s also easily one of the best. It’s also very fast, which means it’s perfect when you need to throw together a weekday dinner in a hurry.

This recipe makes a family-size portion, but feel free to cut the recipe in half for fewer people. Always remember that veggies cook down quite a lot, so 2 pounds of raw bok choy isn’t as much as it sounds.


  • 2 pounds fresh bok choy
  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil (such as veggie, canola, peanut, or a light olive oil)
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated ginger (optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced or pressed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon white sugar
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons hot chicken stock (optional)


  • Discard any yellowing leaves from your bok choy, and slice it at a slight angle into 1-inch pieces. When you reach the tough base of the leaf, discard. Throw your bok choy into a large bowl with lots of cold water. Agitate the veggies with your hands and/or use your faucet sprayer to loosen any dirt. Soak for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Scoop the veggies into a colander and rinse the bowl clean of any sand. Repeat the process until you don’t see any dirt on the leaves or at the bottom of your bowl. Once the washed bok choy is in a colander, give it a good shake to release any excess water.
  • Heat wok or large pan over low heat and add the oil. First add the ginger (if using) and then the garlic- this helps preserve the flavor of the garlic.
  • Once you have the ginger and garlic in the pan, add the veggies and turn the heat up to the highest setting. Stir-fry using a scooping motion so the ginger, garlic, and oil are evenly distributed among the vegetables. This first 30 seconds is a critical time, keep those ingredients moving in the wok so your aromatics  don’t burn and your veggies cook evenly.
  • Next, add salt, sugar, sesame oil, white pepper, and hot chicken stock (if using; using hot chicken stock is important to maintain the temperature of the wok). Stir fry uncovered for another 1-2 minutes.
  • Plate and serve immediately. You may have a little or a lot of liquid, depending upon the heat of your stove and how much water was left in your vegetables after washing, so use a deep dish for serving. Don’t discard the veggie liquid- it’s full of vitamins and is super tasty poured over a bit of rice.

Cook’s Notes:

  • Wash your veggies thoroughly- bok choy likes to grow in sandy soil, and you don’t want to eat sand. However, you’re using smaller baby bok choy, you may not need to wash them quite as much; just slice off the bottoms of each tiny head of cabbage, and rinse until you don’t see any more sand rinsing away (you can separate the leaves if you want, but it’s not really necessary for baby bok choy, which are more tender than full-size bok choy).
  • I left one controversial seasoning off of the ingredient list for this recipe- monosodium glutamate, which most folks know better as MSG. If you’re sensitive to it, then just avoid it; if not, you can add 1/8 teaspoon MSG to this dish (add it to the wok at the same time as the salt, sugar, sesame oil, white pepper, and hot chicken stock). If you want that extra “umami” flavor, but minus the MSG, you could substitute soy sauce, mushroom bullion, or nutritional yeast (or just increase the salt if you’re not watching your sodium intake).