Peppery pak choi

Bok choy in oyster sauce -
Bok choy in oyster sauce -

I must admit, I was never a big fan of pak choi, (bok choy); I found the flavour a bit overwhelming, even with the mild crisp white stems. I would usually cook it by briefly sautéing it in some olive oil and garlic, or just add it to a vegetable stir-fry. Then I sampled some while vacationing in Portland, Jamaica where my interest was renewed.

The secret to the cooks "sweet han" for that dish were the carrots and a few grains of pimento berries (all spice) that she added to the pot, the sweetness from the carrots offset the peppery flavour of the pak choi and the end result was rich and delicious. I’m sure it tasted even more sublime because it was cooked by the riverside on an open fire.


Easy to prepare and somewhat versatile, pak choi can be enjoyed steamed, sautéed stir-fried and can even be delicious in a quiche-like pie and even eaten raw in salads.

I like to slice off the bottom stems where they are all connected, then wash the leaves well and slice thinly both leaves and stems.

There are lots of hydroponically-grown pak choi around, which makes them cleaner and fresher. So congrats to all the farmers who have managed to master this form of agriculture.

Sauteed pak choi with carrots and allspice

2 tbs coconut or vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 pimento pepper, seeded and chopped

1 medium carrot, finely chopped

1 large bunch pak choi, washed and cut into one inch pieces

4 grains pimento berries (all spice)

salt, pepper to taste

Heat oil in sauté pan, add garlic, onion and and pepper, sauté until fragrant.

Add carrots and cook for a few minutes more then add pak choi, stir to combine.

Add pimento berries, salt and pepper.

Cover and cook, the pat choi will spring water, for about 15 minutes, until tender.

Serves 4


Pak choi in oyster sauce

2 tbs oyster sauce

½ tsp cornstarch

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tbs coconut or vegetable oil

2 cloves garlic

1 tsp chopped ginger

1 small onion, sliced

1 bunch pak choi, washed and cut into one inch pieces

salt to taste

Combine oyster sauce with cornstarch and sesame oil set aside.

Heat oil in a wok, add garlic, ginger and onion, sauté to fragrant.

Add pak choi and sprinkle with salt, cook uncovered until patchoi springs water,

Add oyster sauce mixture, and cook until liquid is thick and pak choi remains bright green.

So not overcook. Remove.

Serves 4 to 6

Peppery pak choi custard pie

2 tbs olive oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

1 pimento pepper, seeded and chopped

½ hot pepper seeded and chopped

½ red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 small bunch pak choi, green leaves washed and sliced into one half-inch pieces

4 eggs

¼ tsp nutmeg

salt and freshly-ground black pepper

⅔ cup evaporated milk

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350F.

Heat sauté pan, add oil, add garlic, onion, and peppers, sauté until fragrant, about 4 minutes.

Add pak choi and cook just until wilted and bright green in colour. Remove from heat.

Meanwhile in a large bowl beat eggs, add nutmeg, salt and pepper, milk and cheese.

Stir in pak choi.

Pour mixture into a greased pie plate about 10 inches in diameter.

Bake for 30 minutes until firm to the touch.

Serves 6 to 8


"Peppery pak choi"

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