Grilled Baby Bok Choy with Miso Butter

April  8, 2014
9 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

When I developed the recipes for the "Asian Vegetables" chapter of my new book, Brassicas (Ten Speed Press), I tried to showcase bok choy using methods other than just stir-frying or steaming. In particular, I wanted to avoid anything that would leave the vegetable watery or stringy. Grilling halved heads of bok choy slathered with miso butter resulted in nicely caramelized vegetables with little pockets of flavor.
My first few attempts at grilling bok choy resulted in charred leaves that were too crisp to enjoy. Now I separate the leaves from the stalks and use them raw in a salad that wilts under the heat of the grilled vegetable. Use white or yellow miso paste in this recipe, avoiding barley miso if you're gluten free. If you use darker miso, know that it will be saltier. —lbrussell

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/2 pounds baby bok choy (about 6 heads), or Shanghai bok choy
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons white or yellow miso paste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  1. Cut the leaves away from the bok choy stalks. Halve the stalks lengthwise. Rinse the leaves and stalks well, then pat dry to remove any excess water. In a small bowl, mix together the butter and miso with a fork until well combined.
  2. Prepare a medium-hot fire—a hotter fire will burn the miso paste—on a charcoal or gas grill. Put the bok choy stalks in a large bowl. Using your hands (or a fork), coat the bok choy with the miso butter. Arrange the bok choy, cut side down, on the grill grate. Close the lid and grill for about 5 minutes, until golden brown on the underside. Turn the bok choy with tongs, re-cover, and grill for 5 to 6 minutes more, until golden and crisp-tender.
  3. While the stalks are cooking, stack the bok choy leaves and roll them up lengthwise into a cigar shape. Slice the leaves crosswise into thin shreds. Make a bed of the shredded leaves on a serving platter. Drizzle the leaves with the oil and lemon juice, sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Toss to combine.
  4. Put the grilled bok choy on the dressed salad to wilt the leaves; sprinkle additional pepper over the bok choy. Serve immediately.
  5. Reprinted with permission from Brassicas by Laura B. Russell (Ten Speed Press, © 2014).

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4 Reviews

Rachel January 19, 2021
I had already prepped the bok choy into stem chunks and ribbons of leaves before I went searching for a recipe. As it was too close to dinner to heat up the grill and such, I went ahead with modifications. Sauteed the stem pieces in cast iron skillet on high heat. When still crisp, stirred in the miso/coconut oil paste and then the ribbons of leaves. Added back the tofu that I had just prior fried until crisp in that same skillet. Sprinkled over the lemon juice. It was divine! My tub of white miso lived for years undisturbed in the back of the fridge so I was a bit worried. Now I have a wonderful way to use it up. Maybe less ancient miso will taste even more amazing.
Katy I. July 20, 2020
Delicious simple recipe! We have a tabletop indoor grill without a lid but that worked perfectly. Love the idea of dressing the leaves separately so they don't burn. Mine came out just a touch too salty, probably based on my miso, so I would cut back to 2 or 2.5T next time, and there will definitely be a next time!
Leon July 5, 2019
The umami from the miso and the sour of the lemon complement each other beautifully, paired with something sweet, such as duck breast, trout or pork this is a wonderful side!
Ashley April 28, 2019
This was a big hit! I planted a lot of bok choy in my garden this year and needed to cook up the first harvest. I used coconut oil instead of butter, and added a tiny bit of toasted sesame oil into the mix. I cooked them on the cast iron grill pan and had no issues. Squeezed fresh lemon on top right before serving. We ate all of it in one sitting!