Humble bok choy is the star of the show in this bok choy stir fry recipe! It’s an easy 15-minute, one-pan stir fry that dresses tender vegetables in an umami-forward Chinese stir fry sauce.
As a family who enjoys stir-fries every week, I always have to change things up to keep things interesting.
This easy bok choy stir fry recipe makes the humble Asian vegetable the star of the show. Unlike other vegetables, bok choy soaks up the rich, umami-forward stir fry sauce, resulting in restaurant-quality flavors in every bite. My family loves it so much, they don’t even miss the meat!
Table of Contents
Why this recipe works
- Layers of flavor. You don’t need much to make this bok choy recipe taste like it came from your favorite Chinese restaurant. A 3-ingredient stir fry sauce works its magic and adds layers of umami, nutty, tangy, and zesty flavors to every bite.
- The easiest stir fry! Just like my asparagus stir fry, this recipe doesn’t call for any complicated methods or ingredients, helping you put it on the table in 15 minutes or less!
- A go-to dinner or lunch. I personally love stir-fry leftovers because they heat up perfectly for a quick lunch the next day. And like a stew or curry, the flavors taste even better!
This stir fry with bok choy isn’t too different from your usual stir fry. Besides the signature vegetable, there isn’t really much else needed to make it. Here is what you’ll need:
- Sesame oil. For sauteeing the vegetables and infusing the stir fry with a nutty flavor. Feel free to use vegetable oil or olive oil if you don’t have this on hand.
- Ginger. Fresh ginger has a delightful punchy flavor but you can use ground ginger if that’s all you have at home.
- Broccolini. I prefer using broccolini over broccoli because the long stalks add some much needed crisp (bok choy is NOT crisp ha!) and holds onto the sauce much better than broccoli. If you can’t find this in store, use broccoli.
- Baby bok choy. The star ingredient! You can find bundles of baby bok choy in the produce section of your local grocery store or Asian grocery store. Check out the FAQs section to learn how to prepare bok choy for stir fry.
- Red bell pepper. Or use any color of bell pepper you already have on hand. I’m just partial to the red ones because let’s be real: they are tastier than the green or yellow ones.
- Chinese five spice. This warm, licorice-flavored spice blend is made from a mix of star anise, fennel seeds, cloves, cinnamon, and Sichuan peppercorns.
- Chinese rice wine. AKA shaoxing wine. It’s a staple ingredient in Chinese cuisine and adds an almost irreplaceable flavor to the stir fry. Therefore, I don’t recommend replacing it with anything else.
- Oyster sauce. Or you can use soy sauce or tamari for a vegan/vegetarian and/or gluten-free substitute.
- Toppings. Garnish the finished stir fry with sliced green onions and black and white sesame seeds.
How to make bok choy stir fry
Add the sauce: Stir the Chinese five spice, rice wine, and oyster sauce in with the vegetables.
Finish cooking, then serve: Continue cooking until the vegetables wilt. Garnish with scallions and sesame seeds, then enjoy!
Recipe tips and variations
Wash the bok choy very well before cooking. The bundles of leaves trap dirt and sand, which you don’t want in your stir fry.
Time-saving tips. Chop the vegetables and stir the sauce together up to 1 day ahead of making this recipe to save yourself even more time. Just keep them in separate airtight containers in the fridge, then cook when you’re ready!
Thicken the sauce: If the stir fry sauce isn’t thick enough, make a cornstarch slurry (1 teaspoon cornstarch + 2 teaspoons water) and pour it into the skillet with the sauce and vegetables. It should thicken and look glossy after a few minutes.
Avoid overcooking the veggies. You’ll know the veggies are perfectly cooked when they’re soft on the inside but have a slight bite on the outside and have taken on a darker color. You don’t want them to be too soft or soggy (AKA overcooked).
Add protein. To change things up, I like to add some protein to make it a more substantial meal. Sliced chicken breast, beef strips, and shrimp are all great options or when I want a vegetarian option, I LOVE firm tofu.
To store: Once cooled, store the leftover stir fry in an airtight container in the fridge. It’ll stay fresh and flavorful for up to 4 days.
To reheat: Quickly reheat the leftover stir fry in the microwave or warm it in a skillet over medium heat.
More delicious stir fries to try
Frequently asked questions
Slice off and discard the base of the bundle of bok choy (the bottom half-inch or so). Slice the bundle in half lengthwise, then slice the halves in half.
Almost all of it! Both the firm white stocks and green leaves on bok choy are edible and taste fantastic in this stir fry. The only part that should be discarded is the root.
Bok Choy Stir Fry
- Heat the oil in a wok or large wok over high heat. Once hot, add the ginger and cook until fragrant.
- Add the Chinese broccoli, red bell pepper, and baby bok choy. Add the spice mix, rice wine, and oyster sauce, and cook until the vegetables wilt.
- Season with sesame seeds and green onions, and serve immediately.
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