Shanghai Baby Bok Choy With Black Bean Sauce Recipe

Shanghai baby bok choy with black bean sauce on a square white plate.

Serious Eats / Shao Z.

Incorporating a few fermented black beans to a vegetable stir-fry—like this crisp version with baby bok choy—instantly adds a punch of flavor. Magical flavor beans (as I like to call them) are salty, a little funky, and a wonderful ingredient to have in your kitchen if you stir-fry frequently.

Note: Hearty stem greens such as Chinese broccoli, choy sum, and broccoli rabe will work perfectly in this recipe.

Recipe Facts

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 30 mins
Serves: 3 to 4 servings

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  • Kosher salt

  • 12 ounces Shanghai baby bok choy, split in half

  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce

  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper powder

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

  • 3 tablespoons water

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable, peanut, or canola oil

  • 1 tablespoon fermented black bean

  • 6 medium cloves garlic, roughly chopped


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add bok choy and blanch until bright green, about 40 seconds. Transfer to a colander set in the sink and let drain well.

  2. While bok choy drains, combine soy sauce, white pepper, sesame oil, cornstarch, and water in a small bowl. Set aside.

  3. Heat vegetable oil in a wok over high heat until lightly smoking. Add garlic and black beans and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add drained bok choy and continue to cook, stirring and tossing constantly, until bok choy is almost tender, about 2 minutes.

  4. Push bok choy up sides of wok. Stir sauce mixture with a fork and add it to the center. Let it come to a boil (about 20 seconds), then toss with the bok choy. Serve immediately.

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