Bok choy is a variety of Chinese cabbage (*Brassica rapa* var. *chinensis*) with dark green leaves and thick white stalks. Its name means “white vegetable” in Cantonese. Bok choy is closely [related to turnips](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/learn-about-turnips), [broccoli rabe](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/what-is-broccoli-rabe-broccoli-rabe-vs-rapini-and-9-ways-to-cook-broccoli-rabe), napa cabbage, tatsoi, and mizuna. With origins in Central Asia, bok choy is one of the oldest cultivated vegetables. \n\nIn American supermarkets, two main varieties of bok choy are common: "regular" bok choy, which has a ruffly dark green leaf and bright white stalk, and Shanghai bok choy, which has smooth, oval leaves and is light green from the leaves to the stalk. Both regular and Shanghai bok choy are high in vitamin A and vitamin C.\n\nBok choy has a mild, cabbage-like flavor. As with most dark leafy greens, the green part of bok choy has a slightly bitter mineral flavor. The white stalk is full of water and has a crunchy yet juicy texture. \n\nThe flavor of bok choy also depends on when it's harvested. The very young leaves of baby bok choy have a mild, lettuce-like flavor and are often sold with other members of the Chinese cabbage family as a salad mix. As bok choy reaches full maturity, its bitter flavors become more pronounced and mustardy, at which point it’s excellent for steaming or sautéing.\n\n\nWhether you buy bok choy from the grocery store or the farmer's market, you should always begin by washing it; dirt accumulates between the leaves and around the core, where the leaves meet at the base of the plant. \n\nIf you're going to chop the bok choy, you can chop it first and then soak in a bowl of cold water, swishing it around to remove any grit or dirt. If you want to keep the leaves intact, cut the base of the bok choy to separate the leaves, then rinse them. \n\nYou can also cut bok choy in half lengthwise (good for braises or roasting) or leave it whole; soaking and swishing should remove most of the dirt. Dry bok choy on a clean kitchen towel or in a salad spinner. \n\n\nSautéed bok choy is a great side dish, but there's so much you can do with this green vegetable. \n\n1. __Braised__: Braise whole baby bok choy by simmering in water, soy sauce, and brown sugar in a covered large skillet until crisp-tender. To braise larger bok choy, cut it in half lengthwise first.\n2. __Stir-fried__: Try stir-frying bok choy in a wok over high heat in sesame oil (or vegetable oil), which wilts the bok choy leaves and cooks the stems through. Try a bok choy stir-fry with fresh ginger, whole garlic cloves, a drizzle of soy sauce or tamari, and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.\n3. __Raw__: Slice mature bok choy into ribbons for an easy slaw, or use bok choy, chopped, in a salad with an olive oil, vinegar, and soy sauce vinaigrette.\n4. __Fermented__: Make [bok choy kimchi using the same method you would for napa cabbage kimchi](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-make-kimchi-easy-recipe-and-tips). Serve as part of a banchan (pickle spread) with your main dish and rice.\n\nBecome a better chef with the [MasterClass Annual Membership](https://www.masterclass.com/). Gain access to exclusive video lessons taught by culinary masters, including Gabriela Cámara, Chef Thomas Keller, Massimo Bottura, Dominique Ansel, Gordon Ramsay, Alice Waters, and more.\n[Like chard](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/what-is-swiss-chard-learn-how-to-cook-with-swiss-chard-and-sauteed-swiss-chard-recipe) and kale, bok choy is a cruciferous vegetable that’s packed with nutrients.