While Chinese New Year may not be important to you, it is very deeply part of who we are as a family: I was raised in a Chinese environment, Arman and I met in China, Baby Zand was born in China, and even though we left Shanghai two years ago, China is still a big part of our lives. I want Baby Zand to grow up with as many cultural experiences as possible, so she can easily make friends in all cultures and be a citizen of the world. I believe that is the first step to more world peace. So we celebrate as many cultural holidays as possible, making arts and crafts, eating special food, and acknowledging traditions. My favorite Chinese New Year tradition is the spring clean: tidying up the house and buying new things to replace old, used ones like towels or clothes. It's the perfect way to start a New Year!
Today's recipe is my favorite Chinese steamed bok choy dish, which you can make with any leafy green. It's quick, super fresh, and a great veggie side dish not only for Chinese New Year, but really any day you are too busy to whip a five course meal. When you think of Chinese food, most people think of the rice and meat dishes. The reality is, in Chinese cooking the vegetables are really delicious and super quick to cook, often just steamed for a few minutes. Give them a try next time you eat out!
In case you don't have a steamer, just use a pot with a fitting metal strainer on top. Fill the bottom of the pot with water, making sure the water does not touch the bottom of the strainer. The lid should fit on top of the strainer. Try out a few of your pots, I'm sure you will make it work!
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Makes 4 side servings:
10 bok choy bulbs
1 Tbsp finely grated garlic (about 3-4 cloves)
1 Tbsp finely grated fresh young ginger (about the size of your palm)
1 tsp finely chopped red chili (or less if you don't like it so spicy!)
1-2 Tbsp tamari (or sy sauce or liquid aminos or coconut aminos)
3 spring onions
Start by setting up your steamer and bringing the water to simmer.
Cut off the bottom of the bok choy bulbs so the leaves separate.
Place the bok choy leaves in the steaming basket or metal strainer, and top with the grated garlic and ginger and chopped chili. Drizzle with tamari, put on the lid, and steam for 5 minutes.
In the meantime, finely chop the spring onion.
Place boy choy with the toppings on a serving platter, sprinkle with spring onions, and serve right away.
Happy Chinese New Year!