This stir-fried pak choi with oyster sauce is an absolute winner if you are looking for a healthy and light side dish to go with Asian food. It’s unbelievably flavoursome and takes around 10 minutes to make from start to finish! It’s also a great crowd pleaser and perfect when served as part of a Chinese buffet-style meal.
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IN THIS RECIPE
What is it?
Pak choi is a type of Chinese cabbage that is often used in stir-fries and soups. It has a mild, slightly sweet flavour and a crunch which is retained in the stalk after cooking. Pak choi is a good source of vitamins C and E, as well as fibre and calcium. It is also low in calories and fat-free.
It goes by different names in different places so you may have seen it called pak choy, bok choy or pakchoi. You can usually find it in both full-sized and ‘baby’ varieties. In most cases, you can use either interchangeably, but you’ll often find that most recipes for steamed or sauteed pak choi opt for baby vegetables, as they look really appealing when prepared whole as a side dish.
When choosing pak choi, look for crisp, bright green leaves that are free of brown spots. The stalks should be firm and avoid pak choi that has yellowed leaves or limp stalks, as this is a sign of age.
If you’re a big fan of pak choi, then check out this post on how to cook pak choi in 5 different ways for inspiration!
How do I prepare pak choi?
To prep pak choi always start by rinsing the leaves to remove any grit. The best way to go about this is to place them in a bowl of water to allow any dirt to sink to the bottom. Remove them from the water and place them in a colander to drain.
If you are using full-sized pak choi then cut the root off the bunch with a sharp knife to separate the leaves before washing.
If the stalks are particularly large or thick then you can also slice them off to separate them from the leaves. Add them to the pan a minute or two before the leaves, allowing them more time to become tender and preventing the leaves from overcooking.
Can I make it in advance?
Stir-fried pak choi is best eaten freshly cooked. The longer you leave it the soggier it will become and you’ll lose that distinctive crunch from the stem. However, if you can’t bear to throw away leftovers you can keep them in the fridge for up to 2 days and reheat them in the microwave or on the hob/stove.
How long does it take to fry pak choi?
Pak choi can be stir-fried in mere minutes. If you are using full heads of baby pak choi then you will need around 3-4 minutes. If you are using individual leaves then this can be reduced by a minute or two.
Since it stir-fries so quickly, make sure you are ready with your ingredients before you start cooking so nothing slows you down. If you are serving the pak choi alongside other dishes then make sure to cook it just before you are ready to serve your meal, so it doesn’t have time to cool down or turn limp.
Can I substitute the oyster sauce?
While the flavour of the dish won’t be the same you can absolutely substitute oyster sauce with other ingredients. Light soy sauce works really well.
You could also toss the pak choi in sesame oil if you want a nuttier flavour. A pinch of chilli flakes scattered over the veg before serving is also great if you want a bit of a kick to the dish.
What can I serve it with?
This recipe is cooked with oyster sauce, so flavour-wise it works best when paired with other Asian dishes for the perfect complement. It’s intended as a side dish, but could certainly be eaten as a healthy umami snack or with some rice or noodles for a lighter meal.
What is the best way to stir-fry pak choi?
Stir-frying pak choi is extremely easy. All you really need is a wok, a little oil and 5 minutes of time. However, there are a few rules you can follow to get restaurant-worthy results at home:
- Use high heat to cook the veg fast whilst keeping the stalk crunchy.
- Keep the liquid to a minimum. You can add a little water to help the leaves wilt, but not so much that it reduces the temperature of the wok. You should hear a constant sizzling sound throughout the cooking.
- Don’t cook it for too long. The leaves will turn a bright vibrant shade of green as they start to cook. However, if you cook them too long then they will turn dull, and will also become soggier in texture. The pak choi should be served tender but with a little bite. If you have thick stalks on your veg then it may be worth slicing the stalks off and adding them to the pan a little earlier than the leaves so they have extra time to cook without overdoing the leaves.
For a full list of ingredients with weights and measurements jump to the printable recipe card.
- Pak choi
- Olive oil
- Garlic, sliced very thinly
- Oyster sauce
How to make it
You can also jump to the printable recipe card.
1. Prepare the pak choi
Slice off the root from the veg and separate the leaves before washing if you are using mature pak choi. Otherwise, if you are using baby veg, you can simply slice them in half.
2. Fry the garlic
Heat the oil in a large frying pan or skillet over medium heat. Be careful it’s not too hot so the garlic burns.
Add the garlic to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove the garlic and set it aside on a plate.
3. Saute the pak choi
Increase the heat to high, and when the pan is very hot, add the pak choi.
Cook the pak choi for 2-3 minutes, turning it every few seconds to allow the leaves to wilt evenly.
4. Add the oyster sauce
Tip the oyster sauce into the pan with a splash of water and toss everything together. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the sauce thickens a little. Add a little more water if it starts to dry up.
To serve, transfer the pak choi leaves to a plate and pour any remaining sauce from the pan. Scatter the garlic over the top.
Products that work well for this recipe
2 Japanese Ramen and Noodle Bowls
Chopstick Helper – for Adults (2 pieces)
This pak choi with oyster sauce is a umami taste sensation. Crunchy and mouthwatering, it’s not only quick to make, but it’s healthy too!
The default recipe serves 2 as a side dish. Scale up as required using the buttons to the right.
- 200g pak choi
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, very finely sliced
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 2 tbsp water
- If you are using mature pak choi then cut most of the stems off until around 1 inch is remaining. If you are using baby leaves then simply cut the veg in half. Wash and drain.
- Heat the oil in a wok over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and fry until light brown and crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove and set aside.
- Add the pak choi to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes until fully wilted. Turn every few seconds with some tongs to ensure it cooks evenly.
- Tip the oyster sauce into the pan with a splash of the water. Toss everything together and allow to bubble for around a minute to thicken the sauce. Add a splash more water if it starts to look dry.
- Use tongs to assemble the pak choi on a plate and then spoon over any remaining sauce in the pan. Scatter over the garlic and serve.
- If you don’t have any oyster sauce then light soy sauce also works.
- If you are a lover of ginger then add some ginger paste or grated ginger when you add the pak choi to the pan – it’s really yum!
- Make sure to slice the garlic very thinly for maximum crunch!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Category: Side
- Method: Stir Fry
- Cuisine: Chinese
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 95
- Fat: 5g
- Carbohydrates: 10g
- Protein: 1.5g
Keywords: side dish, chinese, healthy, quick, easy, vegetables, vegan, pak choi, vegetarian