Pak choi seems to have become the most ubiquitous and readily available of the Chinese greens. I like the fresh, crisp contrast it provides to a spicy or sticky Asian-spiced meal such as braised pork, deep-fried tofu or sweetly sauced salmon. But because it’s not exactly flavoursome, I like to give the edges a little bit of colour and add some extra aromatics in the form of garlic and ginger.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 600 g baby pak choi
- 1 large banana shallot or small red onion
- 2 tablespoons sunflower or vegetable oil
- 6 cm fresh ginger, peeled and cut into fine matchsticks
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
- 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
- ½ lime juice
- Prepare all the ingredients first, as the cooking process is quick. Cut the pak choi into halves or quarters lengthways, depending on their size. Cut the shallot in half from root to tip, remove the skin, then slice each half very finely, again from root to tip.
- Pour the oil into a wok or large frying pan and place over a high heat. When the oil is nearly smoking, add the shallot and ginger. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring once or twice, then add the garlic and cook for 20 seconds or so until you have a fragrant mixture. Put the pak choi quarters in the pan, cut-side down if you can. Cook without stirring for 30 seconds, so they take on a bit of colour but remain crisp. You’ll probably need to do this in 2 or 3 batches if your wok isn’t huge, in which case remove the part-cooked pak choi after each batch, returning them all to the wok to finish.
- Once all the pak choi is coloured and back in the wok, add the soy sauce and cover with a lid. Let the greens steam for 30–60 seconds, or until they just wilt a little. Remove the wok from the heat, stir in the lime juice and serve immediately.