Bok Choy (pak choi) or Chinese Cabbage as it is commonly known is a member of the Brassicaceae family. Botanically classified as Brassica rapa with sub species “chinensis” or “pekinensis”. The common form grown around the world is “chinensis” which is also commonly referred to as “White cabbage” or “White Vegetable”

Bok Choy is grown in many countries around the world though it is most favoured in China. Its use around the world is typically related to Chinese cooking.

From China Bok Choy spread throughout the world becoming popular in Korea and the Philippines in Chinese based dishes.

When buying Bok Choy look for firm white stalks with mid green leaves that shows no sign of wilting. Leaves should not contain any spots or signs of disease – disease is not very common to members of the Brassicaceae family.

Bok Choy is an excellent filler vegetable with negligible amounts of Fat. It is a good source of Vitamin C and Fibre, though comparatively not as high in Fibre as other cabbage species. Bok Choy is also a good Source of Iron, Calcium and Magnesium. It is also a good source of Vitamin A.

Growing Bok Choy in the home garden is an excellent option. It grows very quickly taking an average 30 to 40 days from planting to harvest. Seeds generally take less than a week to germinate. The soil should be prepared well and mixed with heaps of organic matter and manure. Doing this before planting will reduce the need to fertilise during the quick growth cycle. The soil should be free draining but you will need to ensure regular watering.

The health benefits of Bok Choy are generally similar to that of other Brassica’s. The Cabbage family is most noted for its potential in the treatment and prevention of cancer. With its High Antioxidant content Bok Choy is an ideal addition to any healthy diet.

- Bok Choy can be eaten raw in salads. It can be shredded and used in place of regular cabbage in coleslaw or used on its own.

- Boiled or steamed Bok Choy makes an excellent vegetable with any choice of meat. It goes exceptionally well with corned meat or silverside.

- Bok Choy is most commonly used in Stir-fries and other Chinese dishes. It can be shredded, roughly chopped, or the whole leaf can be used. I recently found a recipe for Dim Sim made using Bok Choy as the base ingredient. I will put this to the taste test in coming weeks.

Although its popularity is increasing, Bok Choy is still not as popular as other cabbages but its quick growth and high nutrient content make it a solid choice for any Healthy Eating Lifestyle.

Author's Bio: 

Eric J. Smith is an Experienced Horticulturalist with a keen interest in Organic Gardening. Eric's interest in Organics also shows in his interest in Organic Nutrition and Organic Skincare. More information can be found on these by visiting his websites... for Organic Health related products and information on living an Organic Lifestyle. for general health information and articles on living a Healthy Lifestyle.

Subscribe to Eric's FREE Health and Organic Newsletters via the above websites.