Last week in our CSA bushel, we received a big, leafy, gorgeous head of bok choy. In the past, my favorite things to do with bok choy were to use it in a brothy soup with thin rice noodles or to simply saute it with some sesame oil. Nothing has changed regarding how great that soup and sauteed bok choy are, but I just wanted to do something different with it this time. I started pulling books off the shelves, and found two very similar ideas in two different books and both used full-sized bok choy, which is what I had, rather than the baby variety which seems to be more common in a lot of recipes. I mixed and matched and the result was what you see here. First, I found a pan-fried noodle dish made with bok choy and pork in Harumi's Japanese Cooking. In the recipe, she suggests other meats can be substituted for pork, so that got me thinking. The other key to her dish was the noodles that were added to the sauce. The second idea came from Eating Local, and that one involved stir fried shrimp and bok choy with added sliced red chiles. The sauces from both recipes were almost the exactly same, so I set about stir frying shrimp, of course I added the red chiles from the Eating Local recipe, I took the noodles from Harumi's dish, and dinner was served.
Since this was the big kind of bok choy, it was necessary to cut the leaves from the stems, roughly chop the leaves, and slice the thick stems. The red chiles were thinly sliced as was a clove of garlic, and a couple of slices of peeled ginger were smashed with the side of a knife. With everything prepped, the noodles went into boiling water while the shrimp were stir fried first. After a couple of minutes in the wok, the shrimp were removed to a large bowl, and the garlic, ginger, and chiles were tossed in the wok before the bok choy stems were added. The stir frying goes quickly, but to be sure the stems become tender before browning, a little water may need to be added to the wok. It was needed in my case, and about two minutes later, the stems were good to go. The bok choy leaves were added last, really just to wilt, and the shrimp were re-warmed and stirred into the mix. I removed all of that to a bowl that was kept warm next to the stove so that I could add the cooked and drained noodles to the wok. The noodles were stir fried with a little oil, and then topped with the sauce. The sauce was a mixture of oyster sauce, soy sauce, cornstarch, sesame oil, and rice wine. Last, I tossed the noodles with the shrimp and bok choy mixture.
There's something about stir frying that almost always causes me to have a minor freak out at some point. I either think things are cooking too quickly, or I realize I forgot to chop something, or everything just sticks to the wok. Amazingly, nothing went horribly wrong this time. This dish would have been great with just about any kind of greens, but the bok choy leaves and stems gave it nice contrasting textures. The sauce was delicious, the chiles gave it spice, and next time I have bok choy on hand I'll have one more meal in mind for it.