Spicy Garlic Bok Choy

4 Servings
12 min

This super simple spicy garlic bok choy is stir-fried to tender perfection in an Asian inspired sauce. If you’ve never eaten bok choy, give it a try. Plus, it’s on the table in less than 15 minutes.


Bok choy is a type of Chinese cabbage. It has white stalks with dark green leaves and a peppery, slightly mustardy flavor. Baby Bok Choy is smaller, milder, and more tender, with a sweetness that lends itself well to garlic, ginger, soy, and sesame.

Bok choy is high in Vitamins C, K, and A. It’s also rich in fiber, beta carotene, and folate. It’s considered both a cruciferous vegetable and dark, leafy greens.


When purchasing bok choy, look for white, smooth stalks with crisp, dark green leaves. For baby bok choy, look for light green stalks and firm, dark green leaves.

To clean the bok choy, slice the vegetable in half lengthwise and soak it in water to remove any dirt.

To store it, wrap the vegetables in paper towels and place them in a ziplock bag. Store in the refrigerator for about 4 days.


  • Sambek Oelek - this is an Indonesian chili paste. It adds tang and heat to the dish. If you don’t want the heat, leave it out.
  • Fresh ginger - if you don’t have fresh ginger, you can use the ginger paste that is sold in a tube.
  • Oyster sauce - a sweet and salty condiment made from oysters that adds umami to the dish. You can find it in the Asian section of your grocery or in an Asian market.
  • Soy sauce 
  • Water
  • Brown sugar
  • Sesame oil
  • Lemongrass - this will add a lemony zing to the dish. If you can’t find fresh lemongrass, use the puree in the squeeze tubes.
  • Garlic - lots of it.
  • Thai chiles - for color and heat. Remove the seeds and veins inside to reduce the heat.
  • Baby bok choy
  • Sesame seeds - as a garnish
Recipe details
  • 4  Servings
  • Prep time: 5 Minutes Cook time: 7 Minutes Total time: 12 min
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For the sauce:
  • 1 teaspoon sambek oelek chili paste
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
For the bok choy:
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 stalk fresh lemongrass, cut into 2-inch pieces and julienned
  • 5-6 large garlic cloves, cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 Thai chiles, finely chopped and divided
  • 6 baby bok choy, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Make the sauce.
In a small bowl, stir together the chili paste, ginger, oyster sauce, soy sauce, water, and brown sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.
Make the bok choy.
In a wok over high heat, add the sesame oil.
When the oil is hot and shimmering, and the lemongrass, garlic, and half of the Thai chiles. Stir-fry until the garlic is aromatic, about 1 minute.
Add the bok choy and stir to coat with the oil in the wok.
Pour in the soy sauce mixture and stir-fry on high heat for 1 minute.
Cover the wok and simmer for 3 - 5 minutes or until the stalks of the bok choy are tender-crisp. Don’t overcook. You want the stalks to have a bit of a bite.
Lie the bok choy on a serving platter.
Spoon the sauce, garlic, and lemongrass over the bok choy.
Sprinkle the sesame seeds and remaining Thai chiles over top.
Serve hot.
Eats By The Beach (Millie Brinkley)
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