Yesterday, we eased our transition from rocky Greek island paradise to green yet distinctly more autumnal (for those of you who aren’t aware of my proclivity for swimming, preference for temperatures above thirty degrees celsius and the cooling foods that go with them, the “a” word is a mild insult in my world) central Europe, with a spot of shopping. F bought a t-shirt that summed up our languid, langorous and long holiday rather succinctly. It said “3 reasons to be a teacher: June, July, August.” Don’t mean to rub it in or anything (turquoise water! lazy lunches! sleeping in!) but it was, not to put too fine a point on it, awesome and worth the lack of job security and ahem, not being very rich that freelance teaching involves. I get brownie points for realising how lucky I am, right? And in case you were wondering why it seemed as if I wasn’t away at all, pissaladiere and gluten-free olive bread were brought to you by the power of scheduled posts because I’d hate to be a bad host in case you came by while I was away.
I have so many great Greek recipes I want to tell you all about, some we ate in little tavernas and some were cooked by our charming host Marietta’s mum but first, let’s talk about vegetables. Vegetables and rice. Because, after all the eating I’ve just done, bok choy with oyster sauce and a bowl of rice sounds like home to me.
What do you want to cook when you get home from holiday?
Bok Choy with Oyster Sauce
I know some people hate white pepper, but I think it adds something to certain Asian dishes. You can safely leave it out though and you don’t need to substitute black pepper. I’ve had this in restaurants with the bok choy cut into half or quarters but I find it hard to eat with chopsticks when the pieces are so big so I separate the leaves when I cook it. If you prefer to do the former, you might want to briefly blanch the pieces first by holding the thick white part of the bok choy in boiling water for a minute before adding the leaves which will cook more quickly, then rinsing in ice water before proceeding. If you feel like gilding the lily, you could sprinkle some black sesame seeds over too.
2 bunches of bok choy
A thumb sized knob of ginger
2 cloves of garlic
3 tablespoons oyster sauce
1/2 vegetable or chicken stock cube (gasp! you can leave it out)
100 ml hot water
Peanut or corn oil
Cut the bottom of the bok choy off and rinse the leaves thoroughly.
Julienne the ginger and mince the garlic.
Dissolve the stock cube in the water (or just measure out the water).
Heat a frypan or wok over medium heat, add a tablespoon or two of oil and briefly fry the ginger and garlic – not to colour, just to flavour the oil.
Add the bok choy leaves and water or stock and cover, leaving to cook for two or three minutes or until the leaves are cooked to your liking.
Fish the bok choy out with tongs and set on a plate, trying to leave most of the garlic and ginger in the pan.
Add the oyster sauce and pepper, turn heat to high and reduce the sauce to about a third less than you started with. Some people like to thicken here with corn starch but I’m not a fan of gluggy sauces.
Pour over the bok choy and serve with rice.