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02 Feb 2014 By

Food of the Month – Bok Choy

Also known as Chinese mustard cabbage, bok choy (or pak choy) originated in Asia as part of the Brassica family. Its relatives include broccoli and brussels sprouts. In Chinese, the word “bok” means “white”, and “choy” means “vegetable” — even though it’s mostly green.

The nutritional benefits?

The nutrition offered in bok choy is similar to that of other cabbage. It contains vitamins A and C and some B vitamins and it’s a good source of folate. You can also receive small amounts of calcium from bok choy, which is helpful for those who struggle to get enough calcium in their diets.

Choosing and storing bok choy:

The two most common types of bok choy are mature and baby. Mature bok choy has a hard white stem with large, dark green leaves. The baby bok choy has a pale green stem and short, green leaves — and the stems are much softer and easier to eat. When choosing either variety, select those that have a firm stem and vibrant green leaves. Avoid leaves that are starting to yellow. Keep bok choy in the refrigerator in the vegetable crisper or in a paper bag, and use before it begins to wilt.

How do I cook bok choy?

For a modern twist on this favourite appetiser try our recipe for Steamed Bok Choy
–  Bok choy is one of the popular leafy-vegetables very low in calories. Nonetheless, it is very rich source of many vital phyto-nutrients, vitamins, minerals and health-benefiting anti-oxidants.
–  100 g of bok choy contains just 13 calories. It is one of the recommended vegetables in the zero calorie or negative calorie category of foods which when eaten would add no extra weight to the body but in-turn facilitate calorie burns and reduction of weight.
–  As in other Brassica family vegetables, bok choy too contains certain anti-oxidant plant chemicals like thiocyanates, indole-3-carbinol, lutein, zea-xanthin, sulforaphane and isothiocyanates. Along with dietary fibre, vitamins these compounds may help to protect against breast, colon, and prostate cancers and help reduce LDL or “bad cholesterol” levels in the blood.
Bok choy is easily available, inexpensive, and so easy to prepare.