Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Giddy Over This Sweet Soy Glaze

...on Grilled Bok Choy.

We're grilling' and chilling' this week, cooking outside as we relax and enjoy the late summer sunshine and warm weather. The old charcoal grill hasn't seen much action since we switched allegiance to a newer gas grill, but it's large surface was perfect to hold three wide pork chops and some large bok choy. (Hah! autospellcheck really wanted to substitute "book toy" for bok choy... more than once.)

Baby bok choy had been the lead item on my produce shopping list, but our local grocery didn't have any. None. Not one. How can you not stock that cute little Asian cabbage in Seattle, a city with a significant Asian population?! I settled for the larger variety of bok choy... much larger, in fact. Now what? Grilled bok choy by itself didn't hold much flavor appeal, but oh! my! the many sauces and glazes I found online were beyond tempting. Which one to try?

I went with a Kenjii Lopez-Alt recipe found on SeriousEats: Grilled Bok Choy with Sweet Soy Glaze. Kenjii's recipes never disappoint, and his accompanying posts typically include interesting factoids and/or useful tutorials. The posted version called for baby bok choy, but the size difference didn't seem to matter. Preparation was simple and the usual veggie grilling steps applied:
  • slice lengthwise
  • lightly coat with oil, 
  • season, at least with salt and pepper,
  • grill until char marks appear and veggies soften
Results? That soy/sake/seasonings reduction would make cardboard taste terrific... ok, that might be a slight exaggeration but it was amazingly better than anticipated considering the simple ingredient list. The ginger and soy flavors were strongly taste forward; sweet, but not cloyingly sweet. Asian in character, but easy to adapt and substitute ingredients to adjust to individual taste preferences. Myself, I'm a huge fan of the original, though a hint of anise does sound intriguingly tempting.

The glaze was intended for the bok choy, but we slathered it onto the grilled Asian-marinated pork chops, drizzled it over Jasmine brown rice, and even slurped some off spoons. Jars of this reduction will become a standard go-to item, stored on a fridge shelf and ready for action throughout the weeks to come. You really need to try it. Soon. As for the big bok choy, I can recommend grilling it... just as long as you have a flavorful, assertive Asian sauce to drizzle over its charred surface. 

Grilled Bok Choy with a Sweet Soy Glaze
recipe from SeriousEats (link)

For the Glaze

Use a 1:2:2 ratio of soy sauce, sake, and white sugar
   For example: 
        1/2 cup lite soy sauce
     1 cup sake (or dry vermouth, dry sherry or mirin)
     1 cup sugar (use less sugar if you substitute mirin for the sake)

1-inch chunk of fresh ginger, chopped into coins
2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
2 scallions, green and white parts, chopped

bok choy, cleaned, dried, and split in half lengthwise
olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Combine the glaze ingredients, soy sauce through scallions, in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over high heat; stir until the sugar dissolves. Then lower the heat and cook at a low simmer until the sauce is syrupy and reduced to about 1/2 cup. This will take about 15-20 minutes. Discard the ginger; set aside. 
  2. Prepare the grill, heating the charcoal until it is covered in gray ash. Rearrange the briquets so one end of the grill is hotter than the other. 
  3. Brush the cut bok choy with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on the hot end of the grill and cook briefly to lightly char. Turn over and cook until second side is charred. Move to the cooler end of the grill; cover and continue cooking for several minutes until the bok choy is softened but still offers a light crisp bite, roughly 1 to 3 minutes longer. Transfer to a large plate; either drizzle with the sauce or pour the sauce into a small pitcher and serve alongside.

1 comment:

  1. The chilled glaze emerged from the fridge as a solid, gelatin like chunk and required some reheating and thinning before use. No big deal, the taste made it worth the few extra minutes.


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