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Wok-Seared Baby Bok Choy with Chili Oil and Garlic

Spicy red chili oil delivers its pure bold flavor to a quick stir-fry of baby bok choy. Accented by nutty sesame seeds, assertive garlic and spicy red pepper flakes, this side dish perks up a midwinter meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs. sesame seeds
  • 4 heads baby bok choy, about 1 lb. total
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tsp. Asian chili oil

Directions:

In a dry small fry pan over medium heat, toast the sesame seeds until golden brown and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool.

Cut off the tough base from each head of bok choy. Separate the heads into individual stalks by snapping the stalks away from their cores.

In a wok or a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the canola oil. When it is hot and shimmering in the pan, add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, tossing and stirring constantly, until fragrant but not browned, 20 to 30 seconds. Add the bok choy and a pinch of salt and cook, tossing and stirring, until the bok choy just begins to wilt, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bok choy is just tender and the broth evaporates, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chili oil, stir well to coat the bok choy and remove from the heat.

Stir in the sesame seeds, transfer the bok choy to a warmed serving bowl and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Vegetables, by Jodi Liano (Oxmoor House, 2008).