Glossary

Pak choi

Pak choi

Pronounce it: pak-choy

This member of the cabbage family has a number of different names, including bok choy, horse's ear, Chinese celery cabbage and white mustard cabbage. Its structure looks like a squat celery, with either white or very pale green short, chunky stalks and glossy, deep green leaves.

The texture of both leaves and stalks is crisp, and the flavour is somewhere between mild cabbage and spinach. If very young it can be eaten raw in salads, but is best when briefly cooked.

Availability

All year round.

Choose the best

Go for pak choi with perky-looking leaves and firm, unblemished stalks. The smallest examples tend to be the most tender.

Prepare it

Wash. If you like you can cut the leaves from the stems, as they cook at different speeds - the leaves cook much quicker, so you could add just towards the end of cooking. Alternatively, if you want to put leaves and stems in the pan at the same time, cut the stems into wide strips and the leaves into finer strips. Very young pak choi can be left whole, or halved or quartered.

Store it

In a perforated bag in the fridge for up to three days.

Cook it

Stir fry (2 minutes); steam (sliced 2-3 minutes; whole up to 8 minutes).

Alternatives

Try cabbage or spinach.

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