Braised Bok Choy, a Simple Shanghainese Dish | Hong Kong Food Blog with Recipes, Cooking Tips mostly of Chinese and Asian styles | Taste Hong Kong

Braised Bok Choy, a Simple Shanghainese Dish

Braised Bok Choy

This cooked vegetable tastes so nice that I think you may not believe it is nothing but only bok choy (白菜), dark soy sauce and sugar simmered together with water and oil.

The braising is also unbelievably easy. Boil sauce, sit vegetable in pot, adjust heat and, time. From boiling to simmering, all it takes is about 10 minutes or so!

While it is quick to prepare, enrichment is also simple. Just dump a few pieces of crashed garlic and/or ginger into the sauce, you can then easily have the vegetable come with more flavors.

Here, I keep this homey Shanghainese dish most basic. Perhaps I’m in the mode of multi-tasking myself: thinking to make the turnip cake, the water chestnut cake and maybe to catch up another custom for the Chinese New Year – have a haircut.

We are just nine days away from the Chinese New Year, have you started counting down for the Rabbit Year to come on February 3?!

Bok Choy

  • Ingredients
  • 300g bok choy
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp salt, or to taste

Braising Bok Choy


Soak whole pieces of bok choy in sink with sufficient water for about half an hour. As we are not going to cut off each stalk one by one, soaking makes dirts come out between leaves. Swish them in water and change water until clean. Give each bok choy the last rinse under running water if required.

Half each bok choy lengthwise, drain in a colander. If you have drained your vegetable to very dry, say more than an hour, you may need to increase the water amount from 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup for making the sauce.

Mix water, dark soy sauce, sugar and oil in a pot or wok. Bring it to the boil over medium heat.

Put halved bok choy in the boiling sauce, with stalks touching the sauce. Slightly press down the vegetable if required. Cover.

Turn to low flame and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes. My cast iron pot conducted and retained heat pretty well, so I checked the bok choy after it was simmered for 5 minutes. Add salt to taste and mix well (the boy choy are rather tender at this point, so be gentle if you do not want to break them). Dish up, with or without sauce, and serve hot.


Braised Bok Choy

Occasionally, I also like substituting bok choy with Shanghai cabbage (小棠菜) or napa cabbage (紹菜). Have fun with you variations!

To get immediate updates and new recipes from my blog, you may also SUBSCRIBE them via RSS feeds. See you there.


Thank you for visiting, I would love to hear from you as much as I love to put up posts here ...
  1. Juliana

    I love vegetables cooked in this way…they are so tasty and look so pretty 🙂 Love it!

  2. Mary Moh

    This is one of my family’s favourite vegetables. I just got some from the Chinese shop the other day, I usually stir fried it or add them to soup…very delicious.

  3. Little Inbox

    Oh yes, this is tasty! I know that. 🙂

  4. penny aka jeroxie

    If I come visit, will you cook for me and take me out? 🙂 Looks awesome!

  5. TasteHongKong

    @Mary Moh,
    Yes, it is great to stir-fry them with garlic. For making soup, I like to boil the fresh bok choy with the dried ones, again a homey Chinese soup.

    @penny aka jeroxie,
    You come and take me out : ). I’ll flee from cooking.

  6. Tastes of Home (Jen)

    Lovely your simple and homey dish! It’s hard to believe that CNY is coming so soon! 😀

  7. noobcook

    I love it when a recipe does not have too many ingredients, yet delicious and beautiful =)

  8. tigerfish

    Agree with noobcook. When it does not have too many ingredients, yet producing a tasty dish, it just calls my name 😉 …Sugar is quite an impt ingredient in Shanghai food – they like it sweet!

    I also made a Shanghai dish 烂糊肉丝 which uses cabbage.

  9. TasteHongKong

    I just enjoyed reading your recipe on 烂糊肉丝. And I can see how happy you are with the dish, a nice homey dish indeed.

  10. Carolyn Jung

    A great side dish for a busy weekday. You know my other new fave way to cook bok choy? Would you believe in the microwave? It comes out with the perfect crisp-tender texture. Then, I just drizzle on some oyster sauce and sesame oil, and it’s good to go.

  11. Lena

    normally i just simple fry bok choy, never done braising before, thanks for sharing another great idea! I havent done any serious shopping yet for CNY, only bought some waxed duck meat and some sausages 2 days ago.

  12. Lisa H

    Looks yummy… My kids love anything braised in soy sauce n probably won’t notice that this dish has no meat at all … Thank you 🙂

  13. Lori

    So simple, yet so delicious! I definitely have to try this one. It is difficult to find the small bok choy here. It seems everyone wants to grow things big. Perhaps at the farmer’s market this summer though. I absolutely love greens like this.

  14. TasteHongKong

    @Carolyn Jung,
    Although I do not have a microwave oven, I do sometimes blanch veggie and serve it with sauce and oil, which also is one of my fave ways to enjoy them.

    Hope you enjoy braised vegetables from now on.

    @Lisa H,
    You are welcome, I do wish both you and your kids will be happy with it.

    I wish I could try this with the fresh ones direct from farmer markets, which am afraid are very rare here in H.K. With bigger bok choy, I’ll quarter them. Good luck and enjoy.

  15. mycookinghut

    I love baby bok choy! I have never tried to braise it in soya sauce. Thanks for this yummy looking dish!

  16. pigpigscorner

    I love the colour on the veg! Have to try this method instead of just stir-frying my greens =P

  17. Pepy @Indonesia Eats

    What a lovely dish! I’m counting down for the Rabbit year.

  18. Mei Teng

    Delicious looking. Although I must admit this vegetable isn’t my favourite one.

  19. milkitchen

    Oh another healthy and easy making dish for my 2 year old. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  20. Maria @ Scandifoodie

    I love this! That green has such gorgeous colour, it looks really inviting!

  21. esk

    i tried this recipe for my dinner last night and OMG i LOVED IT
    thank you for an amazing recipe! 🙂

  22. TasteHongKong

    Thanks for advising me you love this recipe. I’m grateful for your kind words.

  23. Lola

    The salt is not necessary, it has soy sauce in it.

  24. TasteHongKong

    Soy sauce and salt here balance each other. We may need more soy sauce for enough saltiness, but it will make the vegetable too dark.

  25. Megan

    Great recipe! Served this with seared scallops.

  26. TasteHongKong

    That would be a great meal for me too. Thanks for your feedback!

  27. Link Roundup (March 2013) | Brunette à Bicyclette

    […] things we’ve been cooking lately: these pita breads, this ridiculously simple braised bok choy, and this pasta, perfect for when you’re almost too tired to cook but takeout just […]

  28. 15 Chinese New Year Recipes: Dumplings, Beef, Pork & Shrimp

    […] Braised Bok Choy […]

  29. ATT

    Substituted with baby kai lan, nice tasting too

  30. 9 x 10 Summer Recipes for that Real Summer Feel | Across the Blank Gap

    […] 6. Braised Bok Choy, from Taste Hong Kong […]

  31. Kacey @ The Cookie Writer

    I have made this recipe many times now, and love it! I usually eat the entire meal myself which is awful, but I am so greedy when it comes to good food!

  32. TasteHongKong

    @Kacey @ The Cookie Writer,
    Who would not be greedy when it comes to good food!?
    Sorry for holding this with other spam comments, and my delayed response as I was out of town. Excuse me!