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Where EAST meets the Northwest

(Photo/Sarah E. Crowder via AP)

From The Asian Reporter, V27, #2 (January 16, 2017), page 19.

Cooking on deadline: Asian Bok Choy

By Katie Workman

The Associated Press

If you tend to fall into cooking ruts, one easy way to snap out of it is to check out the holiday calendars of different cultures. Next up on my list of inspirations is the Lunar New Year.

I love cooking Chinese and Asian food all year, but certain foods carry symbolism in Chinese culture and are intrinsic parts of the holiday. Many new yearís foods are associated with luck and prosperity. Long noodles symbolize longevity; the word for "orange" in Chinese is similar to the word for "gold," thus signifying wealth, so that fruit is commonly presented and shared (the round shape also signifies fullness); fish is served whole, to symbolize a strong year to come, start to finish; and green foods are equated with money.

It takes just a few ingredients ó garlic, ginger, soy sauce, hot chili sauce ó to turn a variety of vegetables into a delicious Asian side dish. Because my husband is knee-deep in love with bok choy these days, that was the vegetable I picked to create my prosperity green vegetable dish. Bok choy is available in cute baby versions, but for this dish you can use the inexpensive bigger bunches. Look for it in well-stocked produce sections or Asian stores.

This dish has a nice amount of cooking liquid, so serve it over rice alongside a main course.

Iím under no illusion that money equals happiness, but I do know that this green dish makes my family happy, and thatís a rewarding feeling. Wishing all of you lots of luck in the Year of the Rooster.

Katie Workman has written two cookbooks focused on easy, family-friendly cooking, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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Asian Bok Choy

Serves 6

Start to finish: 20 minutes

2 tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

2 pounds bok choy, trimmed, sliced into 1-inch pieces, and rinsed

1/2 cup chicken broth

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon Sriracha or other hot chili sauce

Place the sesame seeds, if using, in a large stock pot or braiser (this will seem silly, but you will use the same pan to cook the bok choy). Heat the pan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until you can smell the sesame seeds and they turn a bit more golden in color. This will only take two or three minutes, so watch carefully that they donít get too brown. Turn the seeds then put them onto a small plate and set aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in the same pan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and the ginger and stir for one minute until you can smell the aromas. Add the bok choy (itís OK if itís still a bit damp) and stir for another two minutes, then pour in the chicken broth, soy sauce, and hot sauce, and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and cook the bok choy for about eight minutes, until it is tender, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a serving bowl with its cooking liquid and serve hot, with the sesame seeds sprinkled on top if desired.

Nutrition information per serving: 65 calories (34 calories from fat); 4 g fat (0 g saturated, 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 316 mg sodium; 5 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 2 g sugar; 3 g protein.

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