Choy Sum Recipe

Last week’s CSA share was full of leafy green surprises, not the least of which was this lovely choy sum, with its tiny yellow flowers and Chinese broccoli-like appearance. I’m pleased to report that I became a big fan of this vegetable within a week. Over the years, getting a farmer’s market vegetable share has been fantastic for introducing me to new foods and cooking techniques. I wholeheartedly recommend it!
When I don’t know how to cook a new vegetable, I usually roast or stir-fry it. This was not the case with Choy sum. With two full bunches, I had the opportunity to experiment a little, and I’ve settled on a cooking and seasoning method that I like. This vegetable comes in a few different colors, including purple, but I’m confident that any of them will work with this simple stir-fry recipe.
Choy sum has a similar texture to broccoli rabe but a much milder flavor. It’s similar to a cross between broccoli rabe and bok choy. It’s difficult to describe the specific flavor of various leafy greens, so you might just have to take a chance and try choy sum for yourself!

Choy sum is high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, protein, calcium, and iron, in addition to being delicious. It would be fantastic with tofu bulgogi, General Tso’s chickpeas, or orange tofu!
Choy sum is well-known in Chinese cuisine and is possibly (I hope!) making its way into the mainstream here in the United States. I’m sure I’ve seen it at H-Mart before, but it was my first time seeing it at the farmer’s market. And I’m in love with it!

choy sum recipe

Choy Sum Recipe

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Choy sum, also known as choi sum / cai xin / Chinese flowering cabbage / gunsho, is a leafy green stir-fry vegetable that resembles bok choy and rapini. The choy sum is briefly blanched in this simple stir-fry dish before being cooked in a pan over high heat with an easy garlic sauce. The resulting dish is tasty and nutritious, and it would go well as a side dish to any Asian-inspired meal.


  • 1 bunch choy sum (about 8 oz.)
  • 1 tsp neutral oil (I used peanut oil)
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 inch ginger minced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp rice wine or dry sherry (see notes)
  • sesame seeds (optional, for garnish)


  1. Wash the choy sum thoroughly after cutting it into bite-sized pieces and separating the thicker stems from the leafier parts. Bring a pot of water to a boil; once boiling, add the choy sum stem pieces. Boil for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the stems are tender.
  2. Cook for another 45-60 seconds, or until the leafy pieces are bright green. Drain the choy sum, then run it under cold water again. Use a salad spinner or pat it dry with a towel to dry it as much as possible.
  3. In a wok or large skillet, heat the oil over high heat. When the choy sum is hot, add it. If there is any remaining water in it (i.e. if you don't have a salad spinner), it may splatter, so be careful. Season with a pinch of salt. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Cook for 30 seconds more after adding the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes, adding another splash of oil if necessary. Finally, add the soy sauce and rice wine and cook, stirring constantly, until the excess liquid has evaporated. Season with salt to taste, and serve immediately.


    • WINE FOR RICE: Rice wine can be substituted with dry sherry. If you don't have either of these, use a clear spirit of some kind instead. I've had good results substituting plum brandy in recipes like this. If you don't want to use alcohol, use 1 teaspoon of rice vinegar and a pinch of sweetener.

Nutrition Information
Yield 2 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 129Total Fat 9gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 0mgSodium 249mgCarbohydrates 7gFiber 3gSugar 1gProtein 4g

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