Brown Sugar Bok Choy with Pork and Tofu

baby bok choy with pork and tofu

My sister-in-law Alison is a gifted pastry chef, who happens to do a bang up job with savory food as well. A couple of years ago she was over one night and whipped up a side dish of baby bok choy with pork and tofu that my kids inhaled as if it were one of her layer cakes. I’ve been knocking it off ever since.

This savory bok choy is a quick, stir-fried dish seasoned with garlic, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and, of course, brown sugar. Last night, I took it a step further and turned this side dish into a main. It was on the table in a flash.

Nutritious Bok Choy

Some folks are a little intimidated by less-than-familiar Asian vegetables (burdock root, anyone?). Bok choy is the perfect place to start exploring. It’s tender, mild, and lacks the bitterness common in a lot of leafy greens. It’s also super nutritious, with high doses of Vitamin A, C and K.

The little bit of ground pork in the dish lends richness, texture and flavor, without a lot of saturated fat. And the protein-packed tofu is the key to elevating this to a main course. It also makes prep time go quick, since tofu needs only to be warmed, not cooked through.

A Terrific Way With Tofu

I know a lot of kids (and grown ups) aren’t particularly enthusiastic about tofu. If given the choice, my crew would vote for chicken over tofu any day. But in this dish, the flavors of garlic, brown sugar and soy sauce take center stage and the tofu soaks up all the savory deliciousness. Last night nobody said a word about the tofu, other than, “is this tofu?”

Baby bok choy with pork and tofu


Cooking the brown rice ahead of time is what really speeds this meal up. If you're pressed on time, I know some moms who swear by the precooked rice you can buy at Trader Joes. If you really want to get precise about cooking the baby bok choy, you can chop them in half cross wise and cook the stems first and then add the leafy top part a few minutes into cooking.
Servings 4 servings


  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/3 pound ground pork
  • 6 baby bok choy, about 2 bunches
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (or gluten-free Tamari)
  • 1 tablespoon seasoned rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 to 2 pinches red pepper flakes
  • 12 ounces firm tofu
  • 2 to 3 cups cooked brown rice


  1. Set a large sauté pan or wok over medium heat. While the pan heats up, peel and finely chop the garlic. Drizzle the sesame oil in the pan and add the garlic. Saute for a minute, without letting it burn. Add the pork, turn the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring as needed, until the pork is crumbled and cooked through.
  2. While the pork cooks, roughly chop the bok choy, being sure to remove the little wedge of core at the bottom. Put in a colander and rinse thoroughly. Give the colander a good shake to remove excess water.
  3. Add the chopped bok choy to the pork and stir. Drizzle in the soy sauce, vinegar and brown sugar and continue to stir fry until the bok choy leaves are wilted, and the stems are tender, but not mushy. This is will happen in just a few minutes.
  4. Cut the tofu into small cubes and add it to the pan along with the red pepper flakes. Stir gently just until the tofu is heated through. Remove from heat and serve with cooked brown rice.

Recipe Notes

If tofu isn’t your thing, you can use 12 ounces of skinless, boneless chicken cut into cubes. Cook it when you cook the pork, though you may need a little more oil to keep it from sticking. You can also leave the pork and tofu out altogether and serve this as a side dish.


03.28.2011 at11:06 PM #

Pam H

This arrived just in time for my trip to the store: dinner tonight!

03.28.2011 at11:06 PM #


Let me know how it goes!

04.06.2011 at7:08 PM #


Katie, I made this last night and it was a very big hit! My husband is not a big fan of tofu and he and I both absolutely loved this recipe. It was quick and easy to make and healthy as well. I substituted ground turkey for the ground pork and it was equally as good. The recipe calls for 4 light servings, but we finished it just the two of us. Thanks for the great recipe!

04.06.2011 at7:08 PM #


I’m all for substitutions…whatever works. I also appreciate the feedback regarding servings. I’m going to change the recipe to serve 2 to 4.

04.14.2011 at8:24 PM #


This one was a big hit with everyone at the dinner table!! I doubled the recipe to make it our main course. I think I’ll use less tofu and perhaps more pork next time. Yummy – thank you!!

06.23.2011 at7:04 PM #


Delicious. I doubled the pork and tripled the bok choy and we still finished it all and could have eaten more. Great weeknight meal.

07.12.2011 at3:18 PM #


I wanted to use your rssFEED but feed site shows me some crazy xml errors…

07.12.2011 at3:18 PM #

Katie Morford

I’m sorry you had trouble. I will look into it and get it sorted out asap. Thanks for letting me know.

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