Cambodian Cuisine — Bok Choy with Oyster Sauce and Garlic

With all our leftover bok choy from our Taiwanese stir-fry, we thought we’d try to scour the internet for a Cambodian take on the vegetable.  The fantastic Youtube channel Mom’s Recipes, which features detailed videos with instructions on how to prepare a number of Cambodian dishes, came through for us with their Cambodian bok choy video:

With only a small alteration to “Mom’s” recipe (we stir-fried our bok choy instead of steaming so the dish could be made in one pan), we were eager to try the dish.  Oyster sauce is one of our favorite condiments, adding depth and savoriness and just a bit of sweetness to a variety of preparations, from soups to stir-fries.  At risk of being repetitive, oyster sauce is available at, you guessed it, most Asian groceries.  While we have hardly tried every brand of oyster sauce out there, our brand of choice based on our limited experience is Maekrua:

oystersaucebottle
Perhaps the most ringing endorsement possible of a condiment is someone’s mother on the label using the product.

Bok choy with oyster garlic sauce

adapted from the Youtube channel “Mom’s Recipes

SERVES 2

  • 2/3 pound baby bok choy, sliced in half lengthwise and thoroughly rinsed
  • 1 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs oyster sauce
  • salt
  • 3 Tbs water
  • 1 tsp corn starch

First, the water and corn starch were mixed into a slurry and set aside for later use.  Then the oil was heated in a skillet over medium-high heat until is was just barely beginning to smoke:

oilinpan

The bok choy was added (with any residual water from the rinsing step):

bokchoyinpan

…and stir-fried until tender, about three minutes:

bokchoytender

The bok choy was removed and set aside nearby so we could make the sauce.  The pan was left on medium-high heat until most of the excess water from the bok choy had evaporated, about one minute, then the garlic was added:

garlicinpan

The garlic was stirred constantly until just beginning to brown, then the oyster sauce was immediately added and stirred to combine:

oystersauceadded

As soon as everything was bubbling again, maybe thirty seconds later, the corn starch slurry was added:

slurryadded

We stirred continuously until the sauce had reached the desired thickness:

slurrycooked

…then poured it over the bok choy and tossed to combine:

saucepouredoverbokchoy

Once combined, the bok choy was ready to serve:

bokchoyplated

The bok choy was just barely tender, with still a little bit of crunch left in the stalks.  The garlic oyster sauce was a perfect pairing, with its sweet, garlicky, savoriness adding depth to the crispness of the vegetable.  We often forget about bok choy as a simple vegetable side dish, opting usually to use broccoli or cauliflower instead, but perhaps it is time for us to rethink our use of this versatile vegetable.

More from our Cambodian meal:

Amok trei

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