It is not every day that you can choose to soothe your gastronomic habits with a sinfully healthy recipe. But on days that you can, look no further than a plate of grilled bok choy and braised mushrooms. Ask any chef who their favourite member of the cabbage family is, and chances are they will tell you it’s this stocky variant of a Chinese cabbage. And not without reason. In contrast to other leafy vegetables, cooking them does not leave them completely wilted but brings a meaty texture to the stems with a mild taste similar to cabbage. Although usually stir fried, this particular style of bok choy preparation calls for a deep smoky flavour achieved through grilling them.
Shiitake mushrooms have rightly earned their place in the connoisseur’s palate as an indulgence. Cooking shiitake mushrooms with bok choy is an especially good match. Their earthy, smoky flavour perfectly complements the mild meaty texture of the grilled bok choy. Add whisky to that equation, and you have a masterpiece on your hands. The booze helps render a maturity to the mushrooms that tends to grow with every bite.
Then you’ll have to…
Soak your shiitake mushrooms overnight and remove stems. Heat 2 tablespoons of the canola oil over medium heat in a large saucepan and add the crushed ginger, sugar, and scallion till the sugar starts to caramelize. To this add the mushrooms and 2 cups chicken broth and bring to a boil. Simmer over a low heat. Once the mushrooms are tender and much of the broth has evaporated, stir in salt and about a teaspoon of the oyster sauce.
In a smaller saucepan, heat the remainder of your canola oil and add the julienne ginger. Once they are a nice golden brown add the whisky and cook for about half a minute. To this had the remaining half cup of chicken broth and the last of your oyster sauce. Simmer till it thickens.
Now for the bok choy. Blanch them in a large pot of boiling water then cool under tap water and pat dry. Once done, brush them with some canola oil and grill them on high heat till lightly charred. Transfer these smoky treats on to a plate and top with the mushroom. Gently and generously pour the whisky oyster sauce over it. Pour yourself a glass of liquid sunshine and… bon appétit.
Fermented barley and fried dough – whisky and pretzels are definitely a match made in heaven.