Bok choy

Bok choy ~ Super Vegetables

We often see Chinese white cabbage in the produce aisle of our supermarket and listed in the ingredients of various soups, stews and stir-fry dishes.

Many of us probably omit this vegetable in favor of more familiar forms of cabbage and greens, but to do so would be a large mistake, because this super Asian vegetable has many a number of uses and is rich with vitamins and minerals essential for healthy living.

This leaf vegetable is a member of the cabbage family and very popular in Asian cuisine.

Also known as Chinese white cabbage, among other names, it's frequently found in wonton soup and many stir-fry dishes ordered in Japanese and Chinese restaurants.

Mildly flavored with a tender sweetness, it's a welcome accompaniment to many meals without being overpowering.

It can be found fresh year-round in supermarkets.

Health Benefits:

Bok choi is a leafy-vegetable very low in calories.

It's a vegetable in the zero calorie or negative calorie category of foods which when eaten would add no extra weight to the body, but actually facilitates calorie burn and potentially, reduction of weight.

Other mportant health benefits that have been associated with consuming Chinese white cabbage include its abilities to aid in healthy digestion.

It's also high in vitamin-A, vitamin-C, beta-carotene, calcium and dietary fiber.

This leafy vegetable is low fat, low calorie, and low carb and also contains potassium and vitamin-B6.

It's very rich source of many vital phyto-nutrients, vitamins, minerals and health-benefiting anti-oxidants, making this tasty cabbage an extremely healthy treat.

Along with dietary fiber, these vitamin compounds help to protect against breast, colon, and prostate cancers and help reduce LDL or "bad cholesterol" levels in the blood.

The rich amount of beta-carotene inherent in this super vegetable can helps to reduce the risk of these cancers.

Beta-carotene has also been known to reduce the risk of cataracts.

Fresh bok choy is an excellent source of vitamin-C (ascorbic acid) and we now know that regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, inflammatory free radicals.

It has more vitamin-A, carotenes, and other flavonoid polyphenolic anti-oxidants than any other cabbage or cauliflower.

Bok choi is a very good source of vitamin-K, providing almost 40% of RDA levels.

Vitamin-K has a potential role in bone metabolism by promoting osteotrophic activity in bone cells.

Further, vitamin-K also has established a role in curing Alzheimer's disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in the brain.

Fresh bok choi has many vital B-complex vitamins such as pyridoxine (vitamin-B6), riboflavin, pantothenic acid (vitamin-B5), pyridoxine, and thiamin (vitamin-B1).

These vitamins are essential in the sense that our body requires them from external sources to replenish.

It also contains good amounts of minerals like calcium, phosphorous, potassium, manganese, iron and magnesium.

Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps to control heart rate and blood pressure.

Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.

Iron is required for the red blood cell formation.

It's also an excellent source of folic acid and can also contain other healthful nutrients like iron, depending on the soil where it was grown.

The mild flavor of bok choy makes it a versatile cruciferous vegetable, at home in stir-fries, sautéed in some olive oil or lightly steamed on its own.

So, if you don't know what to have for dinner tonight...

Spicy Beef with Shrimp & Bok Choy


Oyster sauce and rice wine give this speedy stir-fry a rich flavor that balances the clean, sweet crunch of bok choy.

Serve with rice noodles or brown basmati rice and a Tsing Tao beer to feel like you're eating in your favorite Chinese restaurant.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

* 1/4 c. Shao Hsing rice wine, (see Ingredient note)

* 1-1/2 Tbs. oyster-flavored sauce

* 2 tsp. cornstarch

* 4 tsp. canola oil, divided

* 3/4 lb. sirloin steak, trimmed of fat, cut in half lengthwise and thinly sliced

* 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

* 10 raw shrimp, (21-25 per pound), peeled, deveined and chopped

* 1 lb. bok choy, preferably baby bok choy, trimmed and sliced into 1-inch pieces

Preparation;

1. Whisk rice wine, oyster sauce and cornstarch in a small bowl until the cornstarch is dissolved.

2. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat.

Add beef and crushed red pepper to taste; cook, stirring, until the beef begins to brown, 1 to 2 minutes.

Add shrimp and continue to cook, stirring, until the shrimp is opaque and pink, 1 to 2 minutes.

Transfer the beef, shrimp and any juices to a plate.

3. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high heat in the same pan.

Add bok choy and cook, stirring, until it begins to wilt, 2 to 4 minutes.

Stir in the cornstarch mixture.

Return the beef-shrimp mixture to the pan and cook, stirring, until heated through and the sauce has thickened slightly, about 1 minute.

Tip:

Ingredient Note: Shao Hsing (or Shaoxing) is a seasoned rice wine.

It's available in most Asian specialty markets and some larger supermarkets in the Asian section.

If unavailable, dry sherry is an acceptable substitute.

Nutrition:

Per serving

Calories 204

Carbohydrates 6 g.

Dietary Fiber 1 g.

Fat 8 g.

Saturated Fat 2 g.

Protein 22 g.

Potassium 660 mg.

Sodium 384 mg.

Cholesterol 54 mg.

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