Bok Choy Soup

Try this truly Chinese-style bok choy soup for a uniquely savory and flavorful way to enjoy more vegetables with your dinner. {Gluten-Free, Vegan}

Chinese bok choy soup

In China, soup is something that is always on the table, particularly at dinner. According to Chinese tradition, your dinner should always include at least three dishes and one soup (三菜一汤, san cai yi tang). 

This bok choy soup is super easy. If you have always wanted to do something different with bok choy rather than just put it in stir-fry, you need to try this bok choy soup.

Chinese soups are usually made with simple ingredients and are very easy to make. My bok choy soup is no exception to this rule. Along with fresh bok choy, it uses ginger and zha cai (榨菜), a Chinese pickled mustard plant stem, for big flavor.

Ingredients for making bok choy soup
Bok choy soup close-up

What is Zha Cai

Zha cai is a type of pickled Chinese mustard stem. It has a wonderful combination of spicy and sour and salty all together. It kind of reminds me of sauerkraut with a hint of hot chili pepper and sweetness. The texture is interesting, too. It’s crunchy but also tender. The only thing I can really liken it to is a pickle. 

Zha Cai, Chinese pickled mustard stem

I recommend finding zha cai at your Chinese grocery store or on Amazon. It is what gives this bok choy soup such a spectacular flavor and aroma. Believe it or not, this soup takes just 20 minutes to make, from start to finish. With just six ingredients, it will make the perfect complement to your Asian-inspired dinner. Plus, it’s vegan and gluten-free so it’s a soup anyone can enjoy.

Most people only know wonton soup, egg drop soup, and hot and sour soup from their neighborhood Chinese restaurant. While there’s no denying those soups are delicious, try my bok choy soup. It’s a simple recipe that will add more color and nutrition to your meal. 

Bok choy soup with ginger and pickles

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Try this truly Chinese-style bok choy soup for a uniquely savory and flavorful way to enjoy more vegetables with your dinner. {Gluten-Free, Vegan}

Bok Choy Soup

Try this truly Chinese-style bok choy soup for a uniquely savory and flavorful way to enjoy more vegetables with your dinner. {Gluten-Free, Vegan}
Print Pin Rate
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: home style
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 55kcal
Author: Maggie Zhu

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup zha cai (Chinese pickled mustard plant stem) (*Footnote 1)
  • 2 ” (5 cm) ginger , minced
  • 1 green onion , sliced
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 6 to 8 heads baby bok choy , halved or quartered depending on the size

Instructions

  • Heat the sesame oil in a medium-sized pot over medium-low heat. Add the zha cai, ginger, and whites of the green onion. Saute for 3 to 5 minutes, or until they become fragrant and just start to brown.
  • Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil.
  • Add the bok choy and bring the stock back up to a simmer. Cover the pot and cook until the bok choy is tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the greens of the green onion and a drizzle of sesame oil if desired. Adjust the seasonings to taste with a pinch of sugar, salt, or a splash of the zha cai pickle liquid. (*Footnote 2)

Notes

  1. Depending on the brand of zha cai you buy, it comes in different sizes. If you bought the whole stems, cutting them into thin slices is the best way to release the flavor. If you bought the cut type, then you can add them directly into the soup.
  2. The flavor of the soup is largely determined by the type of vegetable stock and the brand of zha cai you buy. Adjust the taste at the end according to your taste.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 55kcal | Carbohydrates: 5.9g | Protein: 1.1g | Fat: 3.4g | Saturated Fat: 0.5g | Sodium: 561mg | Potassium: 173mg | Fiber: 0.9g | Sugar: 2g | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 1mg

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

Other Chinese soup recipes

Lilja Walter is a part of the Omnivore’s Cookbook team and worked closely with Maggie to develop and test this recipe.

Try this truly Chinese-style bok choy soup for a uniquely savory and flavorful way to enjoy more vegetables with your dinner. {Gluten-Free, Vegan}

Disclosure

Omnivore's Cookbook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
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Meet Maggie

Hi I'm Maggie Zhu! Welcome to my site about modern Chinese cooking - including street food, family recipes, and restaurant dishes. I take a less labor-intensive approach while maintaining the taste and look of the dish. I am originally from Beijing, and now cook from my New York kitchen.

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3 thoughts on “Bok Choy Soup

  1. Fred Rickson

    Thanks for providing a photo of a product. Our large Asian food store has a staff that doesn’t speak much English, but a photo always works.

    Reply