When I polled my Instagram followers, less than one quarter of them had offered bok choy to their children! It’s not one of the first vegetables we instinctively think of as “baby food.” Bok choy is commonly used in Chinese cooking and can often be found in stir fry.
As with any leafy, green veggie, bok choy should be cooked down and chopped before giving it to your baby. The tough stalk can be used as a teether before your baby is able to break off a chunk of it.
What is Bok Choy?
Bok choy is a Chinese cabbage that is related to broccoli, cabbage, collard greens and kale. It is also known as pak choi, pok choi, bok choi, Chinese chard, Chinese mustard, celery mustard, and spoon cabbage (1). The spoon shaped leaves make a great opportunity for food play with your child, if they are hesitant to taste bok choy.
Standard Bok Choy
This is the traditional version. It has dark, crinkly colored leaves and white, crisp stems. It is commonly used in Cantonese style cooking, stir fries, or served raw.
Shanghai Bok Choy
This version is more available in the US. The leaves are mild tasting and spoon shaped. The stems are green instead of white. It can get slimy if overcooked, but can be substituted for true bok choy.
Bok choy is a great source of vitamin C, which can help with iron absorption. Iron is a key nutrient for kids. Bok choy is also a good source of vitamin A and vitamin K. It is also a non-dairy source of calcium.
How to Store Bok Choy
It’s best to store your bok choy in the refrigerator, unwashed. You can store it in a perforated bag to allow for some air flow. Dirt can hide in between the leaves, so you will want to wash it before cooking. Washing it before storage can accelerate rotting and shorten its shelf life.
If you prefer to prep your food right away, you can store washed leaves in a jar of water. Store them upright and try to use them in a couple of days.
You can freeze bok choy, but you’ll need to take some precautions. One option is to blanche it (boil it for 1-2 minutes, then dunk it in ice water), dry it, and place in a freezer bag. The other is to clean it with a paper towel, then chop it up and place it in a freezer bag.
Crispy Bok Choy
- 1 air fryer
- 1 head bok choy
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
- ½ tsp ginger
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- Wash and cut bok choy into stalks.
- Drizzle on oil, salt, pepper and any other flavorings you would like.
- Air fry at 375° for 5 minutes.
Krystyn Parks is a Registered Dietitian and Lactation Consultant who specializes in feeding children. She has a Master’s Degree in Nutritional Science from California State University Long Beach. She is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and has been registered with the Commission on Dietetic Registration since 2013.