- Bettina Applewhite
Yu Choy with Oyster Sauce
Yu choy is a vegetable that hasn't gotten as much attention as bok choy. But it must be gaining popularity because I've found it at my local Wegmans grocery store. I usually find it at my local Asian grocery stores. It's easy to cook and can be handled just like boy choy but gives a more umami flavor than bok choy.
We are more familiar with bok choy. It's commonly served in restaurants and found in local grocery stores. I don't find it on the menu as a side in my corner Chinese food take-out places. Maybe I should start a petition for that? idk. But yu choy is less known. I haven't noticed it on menus anywhere and that is a bummer. Because it is delicious.
In the picture below bok choy is on the left and yu choy is on the right. You can tell the difference because bok choy has a bright white stem while yu choy has a deep green stem that the same color as the leaves. Both of these plants are vegetables in the cabbage family. They've both have a lot more flavor than their parent cabbage. I've found that you can prepare them in similar ways. I decide what I'm feeling like. Am I looking for light flavors or bold flavors? According to the answer is what I choose.
I find many different kinds of bok choy and yu choy at the Asian grocery stores like Lotte and H-Mart and the Great Wall in Catonsville, MD. The will have baby bok choy and long stems and the tips of both yu choy and bok choy. Especially if you have the long stems, you'll want to blanch the vegetables before you sauté them. I find with a little extra patience, I can just sauté the tips in a wok and still get the veggies to a perfectly crisp texture that's not raw. For the recipe below I blanch the yu choy for about 30 - 60 seconds to help in the cooking process.
Sauté the yu choy with oil and heat a sauce on the side. All the flavor comes from the sauce and of course the yu choy. I don't worry about adding salt to the boiling water or the yu choy while I'm sautéing. There's plenty of salt and flavor in the yummy sauce made of soy sauce and oyster sauce and lots of garlic.
It's important that you thoroughly wash yu choy. There is lots of sand between the stems and leaves. Even if you don't see it, it's there. Run water between the stems to rinse away any grit. Dunk vegetables in water. A triple rinse is good to ensure that all the sand has been removed.
Yu Choy with Oyster Sauce
1 lb Yu Choy
2 Tbsp Canola Oil, divided
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
1 Tbsp Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
1/2 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
Pinch of White Pepper
Wash your yu choy by submerging in water and allowing water to run between stems and leaves. Triple washing is best to make sure no sand is left. You can leave your yu choy bunches together or trim the ends to make individual leaves. I like to leave mine whole for presentation and ease of handling.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add yu choy and boil for 30 seconds and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain well.
In a wok or large skillet, heat canola oil and sauté yu choy.
In a small sauce pot, heat canola oil and add in garlic. Cook garlic for 30 seconds until fragrant and softened. Then add in oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, and white pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
Once sauce is ready, pour over yu choy. Serve immediately and enjoy!