In Memory Of Karen Nicole Smith, 1972 - 2016

Let’s put the Pak Choi debate to rest now?

vegetarian pak choi recipeThis recipe is in response to all the comments I got to the Swiss Chard recipe I posted a while back. It seems there were a lot of people who were getting confused with Swiss Chard and Pak Choi. I could easily see why, as not only do they both taste great when cooked and the preparation is basically the same, plus the appearance is very similar. Normally I cook pak choi when I have some left over stew pork as it adds a great flavour to the finished dish, but seeing the nice selection they had at the grocers our last visit. I just had to get some, even though I had no leftover pork.

To understand what I mean when I talk about the confusion caused by the Swiss Chard recipe, you must also check out that recipe and read the comments directly below it. CLICK HERE >  Swiss Chard Recipe. While there take a close look at the stems (white part) of the chard, now compare it to the white part of the pak choi (pics below). also note that the green part of the Swiss Chard has a bit more waxy look to it, very crinkled and can be very large. I’ll be sure to plant both pack choi and swiss chard this spring in my garden to get some better pics to show the subtle differences.

You’ll Need

1 bundle of Pak Choi  1 1/2 – 2 lbs (also known as bok choi or Peking cabbage)
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash of black pepper
2-3 cloves of garlic (sliced tin or crushed)
1 medium onion sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 slices of hot pepper – optional (I use habanero or scotch bonnet – adds great flavour and some heat)

Start by separating the leaves of the pak choi and rinse thoroughly under running water to remove all the sand and dirt that can accumulate there. Pak Choi is usually planted in sandy soil,as as the leaves develop, sand and dirt can get trapped between the leaves.

tasty pak choi recipe

trini pak choi recipe

vegetarian pak choi recipe

The next step is to cut the leaves and stems into smaller pieces (cubes and strips) to allow for fast and even cooking. You’ll notice that in the pak choi I got there’s a lot of stem (white part) and not as much green leafy part. In the Caribbean the leafy part is much bigger, but I have to use what I can find 🙂 What I usually do is cut the white part length-wise into 1/2 thick strips (see pic below). Then I roll the leafy part into a somewhat tight bundle and slice the entire thing. So I get the white parts cubed and the leafy part comes out is shreds.

how to cook trinidad pak choi

bok choy recipe

trinidad pak choi recipe

caribbean pak choi

Lets get to cooking now.  Heat the oil in a fairly wide pan and add the onion, garlic and slices of pepper. Allow that to cook over medium heat until the onion is soft and the oil is infused with the garlic. Takes about 4-5 minuets. Now start adding the pak coi to the pot (you’ll think it won’t fit at first.. but it will cook down). Stir and keep adding. Then add the salt and black pepper. With the heat between med and low, cook covered for about 5 minutes.

cooking trini style pak choi

pak choi

trinidad pak choi

Now remove the lid and allow all that liquid that accumulated to cook off. I turn up the heat a bit and it takes about 5-10 minutes to cook off. Now depending on the texture you like ( soft or with a gently crunch) you may have to experiment with the final cooking time (after you’ve removed the lid).

how to cook pak choi

simple pak choi recipe

trinidad food recipe

TIP!. As mentioned above for an extra level of flavour you can add left over pieces of stewed pork the last couple minutes of cooking. And another way to flavour this is by adding some pieces of salted cod when you’re cooking the onions at the start.

So can you tell the difference between Swiss Chard and Pak Choi now? They both taste very similar, except I find that the Swiss Chard has a bit of a more bitter taste and the Pak Choi seems to be a bit smoky.

I’d love to hear from you, so I encourage you to leave me your comments below. Maybe you have a different version of this recipe you’d like to share?

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  1. Noelani
    February 18, 2019 / 6:46 pm

    Easy to follow recipe and quick! I love bok choy!! It came out exactly how you described it. I just added culantro/bandania
    Thanks again. And yes it was yummy with with rice.

  2. September 24, 2018 / 7:23 pm

    This will be the first for me. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Dez
    May 31, 2016 / 12:36 pm

    Thanks so much for this. I just followed the recipe and it tastes amazing. A Trini here.

  4. Marine
    February 28, 2016 / 5:38 pm

    Thanks for sharing, love this recipe.

  5. Marine
    February 28, 2016 / 5:37 pm

    I love this recipe, thank for sharing it with us.

  6. Vida Rignault
    December 7, 2013 / 7:36 am

    I have devised my own recipe using baby bok Choy (usually readily available in Asian markets here in the U.S.) lots of finely chopped onion, tomatoes (with seeds removed), fresh ginger, jalapeño peppers & a dash of sesame oil & bottled bacon bits at the end. I like the Oriental flavor, having lived in S. E. Asia for 8 years, & naturally, I use a wok, which, as I am sure you are aware, gives everything a special Asian taste!! This dish is a huge favorite with my family!!

    P.S. I am originally a “Trini”!!

  7. Mervene
    September 8, 2013 / 1:50 pm

    I love my pak choi(Bol choi) steamed with salt fish or like those seasoned old folk used to say with some salt kind(salt pork) I don’t eat pork so my mom used to cook mine with salt beef

  8. Gwen
    December 16, 2012 / 4:19 pm

    Hi Chris,
    I love baby bok choi, can't wait to try this one. Keep those fantastic recipes coming.

    Gwen from Miami

  9. Yasmin
    July 7, 2012 / 7:27 pm

    great receipe can't wait to try it

  10. Cheri
    August 17, 2011 / 2:10 pm

    I usually add carrots and tomatoes to the recipe.

  11. Doug Irvine
    July 12, 2011 / 1:53 pm

    Hi Chris, Old Doug here in BC….I have been cooking since 1947, and cooking Chinese since 1952. I prefer
    Baby Bok Choi rather than the large bok choi as it has a more delicate flavour. However, I will try your recipe with the baby bok choi or Shanghai bok choi as the light green one is called. I am enjoying doing some of your Carib cooking! Even at 85 I still like to do new stuff!
    Cheers, old Doug on Vancouver Island BC

  12. June 7, 2010 / 1:54 pm

    I love a quick stir fry of pak choy anytime. It is great for entertaining and make a good presentation as a veg dish.

    • June 17, 2010 / 2:25 am

      I look forward to it when I purchase Chinese food (mixed vegetables).. could never get enough 🙂

  13. Lisa
    March 20, 2010 / 4:24 pm

    Love this…..I added red/green pepper among other ingrediets with two splash of cocnut milk…..what I licked that up. nice… need a recipe for butter beans????

    • admin
      March 26, 2010 / 10:33 am

      Lisa, I’m sure the coconut added a wonderful flavor to the dish. Yes, I’d love to have the recipe. You can email me directly (click on contact on the right side of the page) or leave me a comment here with it.

      happy cooking


  14. February 18, 2010 / 4:00 pm

    Yo dude – Pak Choi is hands down, one of my favorite dishes from my grandmother. I can remember being a child and the only greens I would eat (I was around 5 or 6) was her pak choi.

    With stew beef of course!

    I’m actually following your ultimate curry chicken recipe tonight. Got me some thighs marinating in the fridge right now with some onions, garlic, etc… I have my own recipe/process, but I love trying out other peoples.. I must of made 15 different variations of curry chicken over the last 6 months.

    I’ll let you know how it turns out!

    .-= Mission Tiffany Lamp´s last blog ..2 1/4″ Set of Four Tiffany Vine Art Glass Shades =-.

    • admin
      February 21, 2010 / 3:12 pm

      Oye! Elijah.. shoot that recipe of yours over so we can give it a test drive. BTW folks.. this is the soldier responsible for the amazing design of the website. I get tons of credit, but props should go to him as well.


  15. February 17, 2010 / 10:50 pm

    I love to cook these types of veggies. I added fish sauce instead of salt. Great dish for Lent 🙂

    • admin
      February 21, 2010 / 3:15 pm

      Tuty, great tip. thanks for sharing

      happy cooking


      • Roslyn
        February 2, 2014 / 4:59 pm

        Chris add some pimentoes to the Pak Choi. It also brings out the flavour.

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