Last but not least is bok Choy. You’ll find this famous Chinese green in two varieties: mature and baby. The white stem variety, with dark green leaves, is called bok choy. While the pale green stem variety is known as Shanghai bok choy. The mature and baby types are both best used for stir-fries or braises. Look for bok choy with firm stems in tight heads and crisp leaves.
How to cook Chinese greens in three different ways
My favorite methods of cooking Chinese greens include stir-frying them with black beans or garlic, blanching then serving with oyster sauce drizzled on top, and finally serving them in broth. These three simple methods are fast and easy to use and work with non-Asian veggies such as Swiss chard (kale), frisee (iceberg lettuce), and Swiss chard.
Method 1: Stir-Frying
Best greens to stir-fry: bok choy leaves, yam, iceberg, romaine, lettuce, watercress, and fries.
Stir-frying is my go-to cooking method for any greens I have, whether they are Asian or not. Think about your greens’ type and size before you stir fry them. Is it necessary to cut it? Swiss chard and other long vegetables will need to be chopped before cooking. The leaves of hearty vegetables can be chopped or torn, but the stems (such as gai lan and bok choy) should be cut into smaller pieces.
You can blanch thicker stems in boiling salted water for a few seconds to soften them before putting them into the wok.
The flavor of garlic can change depending on how you chop it
If you want to stir-fry the vegetables with a little salt, you can do so. But if you want to add some aromatics, you must decide whether you prefer them chopped up into larger pieces for a milder taste, or minced finely for a more robust flavor. Add them to the wok first before adding your greens. This will allow them to soften. Add them at the end of the cooking process if you are mincing. This will keep the flavor strong and prevent the smaller bits from burning.
Method 2: Braising with Oyster Sauce
Best greens to blanch: Gai lan (bok choy), choy sum (choy sum), romaine lettuce (iceberg lettuce), broccoli rabe, mustard greens
This cooking method is best used with heartier vegetables such as bok choy, broccoli rabe, iceberg, or romaine lettuce. Poaching greens is as simple as bringing a pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add the greens and cook, stirring with a metal spoon, until just past al-dente.
Draining is the most important part after cooking. Drain your greens extremely well as excess water can dilute the flavor. A heavy-duty salad spinner or a fine-mesh strainer will work as well as pressing them in with a spatula or spoon. You can use a pair of tongs or a spider to remove the greens. Let them drip and then dry them on a tray with clean kitchen or paper towels.