The first time I made this dish, I decided to keep the bok choy raw. And the sauce was more like a dressing – the ingredients added to a screw-top jar, shaken, and poured over. It was a bok choy salad of sorts. I knew it was a good pairing—ginger and miso—but the sauce was too runny and the raw bok choy too bitter. Failed attempt #1.
The second time was at least in the ballpark. Halved and grilled the bok choy on a griddle pan. Dressing remained the same as before. This method actually worked fine and the charred bits on the bok choy even added another element of interest, only, it took ages to cook through, and when it finally did, it had cooked unevenly (perfectly tender white parts; overcooked leafy parts.) Failed attempt #2.
Sauce fix: The flavours were on point, so it was just a matter of thickening it up and having it coat the vegetable rather than letting it run all over the place. You know that syrupy consistency of say, a barbecue sauce? You get that from heating the sugars in it, which eventually reduce and thicken as you cook it out. Miso, when cooked out, produces a similar reaction. Make sure to keep an eye out though, because sugars also have the tendency to burn when you’re not looking (I have some experience in this area.)
Veggie fix: Chopped bok choy, the white and leafy parts cooked one after the other respectively. This dish works great as a salad or a side, and you could even use other leafy greens in place of bok choy. The sauce is where it’s really at, so taste and balance it out to suit your palette. —Kirthana | Theblurrylime
For the bok choy:
heads of bok choy
Salt, to taste
sesame seeds, toasted
For the sauce:
fish sauce (optional but recommended)
Add all the ingredients for the sauce into a screw-top jar and shake to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning. Add to a small saucepan and cook it over a medium heat for 4-6 minutes until it reduces slightly and becomes syrupy. Taste again and balance the flavours. Set aside.
Remove the dry outer leaves if any, from the bok choy. Halve it lengthwise and remove and discard the hard white core at the bottom. Pull each leaf apart with your hands and rinse well under running water to remove any dirt from them.
Chop the bok choy into small pieces (I chopped mine quite fine, but you could leave it more chunky as well).
Heat a pan and add in the thicker light-green and white parts first. Toss for about 1-2 minutes until they start to wilt slightly.
Tip in the leafy top ends and turn the heat off. Pour the sauce and toss it all together. Garnish with sesame seeds and serve hot or at room temperature.