Twice-Wilted Lavender Bok Choy With Cilantro
Since bok choy (báicài) literally means “white vegetable,” I should probably just call it “lavender choy” or use whatever is the Cantonese word for lavender—can anyone help with this? This luminous lavender choy is from the miraculous Deb Kavakos at Stoneledge farm, home base of my CSA collective. Have a closer look at those fat juicy stems!
We have lots of these greens this week, so I wanted to try something just a little different. Kenneth Lo has a recipe in Chinese Vegetable and Vegetarian Cooking (London and Boston: Faber and Faber, 1974 and 1995), for “Three Fairy Salad” in which you wilt bok choy once in salt, and a second time when you pour on hot oil. That’s all the cooking it gets, and it turns out to be just right. The traditional recipe would include radishes as well as the cabbage, and if you had some of those lavender “easter egg” radishes to go with your lavender choy, that would really be the bee’s knees.
Twice-Wilted Bok Choi
Not entirely raw, but not quite cooked, this cool preparation is just the ticket for rainy summer days like this.
1 large bunch bok choy, about one pound
1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
oil (grapeseed, peanut, or other, about 2 tablespoons))
1 onion, sliced
2 dry red chiles, or more, to taste
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
4-6 sprigs cilantro, minced (about 2-4 tablespoons)
Cut the bok choy up into 1-inch pieces, and sprinkle with salt. Rub the salt into the leaves with your hand and leave it to rest in a cool or refrigerated place for three hours or overnight. Heat oil in a skillet and cook the sliced onion and chile pepper pods until the onion is quite soft and a bit golden. Pour the onions and chiles with their oil onto the bok choy and add the sesame oil and minced cilantro. Serve cool or chilled.
See Paulchens’s Food Blog for other cooling herbal creations.
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