Bok Choy & Pork Soup (白菜猪肉汤)

Learn one of my dad's go-to recipes that's easy, quick, and healthy!

Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Yields
4 servings

A Recipe by Daddy Lau

My dad's been cooking Chinese food for over 50 years - as a kid fending for himself in Guangzhou, as the head chef of his own restaurant, and as a loving father in our home.

Hopefully, by learning this recipe, you'll get to experience some of the delicious joy we felt growing up eating his food!

- Randy

This is a super simple recipe that my parents make multiple times a week.

Also, it's a really flexible dish! After you’ve cooked it, we can keep the bok choy in the soup and eat it as is. Or, often what we’ll do is scoop the bok choy out, drink the soup, and eat the bok choy separately.

"White Vegetable"

Just like the words “cafe” and “chocolate”, bok choy is a loan word from Cantonese “baahk choi”, which literally means “white vegetable.”

Bok choy is one of the many different types of Chinese cabbage, cultivated for over 2000 years for its resistance to cold weather.

Ingredients

Weight: US
oz
g
Volume: US
cup
mL
Servings
4
    Main Ingredients
  • 1 lb baby bok choy (

    the larger bok choy works too, more on this later

    )
  • 4 oz pork chop
  • Soup Base
  • 14 oz chicken broth
  • 5 cups water (

    soup base

    )
  • ginger (

    optional - just a few slices

    )
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon (

    optional

    )
  • Pork Marinade
  • 1 tsp cornstarch (

    pork marinade

    )
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce (

    pork marinade

    )
  • 1 tbsp water (

    pork marinade

    )

On Bok Choy

My parents generally prefer baby bok choy, but this also works with the larger variety and Shanghai bok choy.

Finding Asian Ingredients

Some of these ingredients are hard to find in a typical grocery store.

If you don't live near an Asian market, most or all of what my dad uses in this recipe can be found on Amazon:​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​

I've also included some other Chinese kitchen essentials, used in many of my dad's other recipes.

These links are affiliate links, which means that if you use our links to purchase these ingredients, Amazon pays my family a small amount for the sale - at no extra cost to you. If you use these links, we really appreciate the support!

Alternatives to Oyster Sauce

If you're vegetarian or need to stay away from gluten, we have three alternatives for you!

Vegetarian Oyster Sauce

Since oyster sauce is made out of oyster extract, here are some alternatives that have a similar taste without using the actual oyster:

Gluten Free Oyster Sauce

Wok Mei has a gluten-free oyster sauce, but it still contains oyster extract, so it's not vegetarian friendly.

Vegetarian + Gluten Free Oyster Sauce

Unfortunately, we don't know of a vendor that sells an oyster sauce that caters to both dietary restrictions, so you'll need to DIY the sauce.

Mix equal parts gluten free soy sauce and gluten free hoisin sauce. This isn't exactly the same as oyster sauce, but it's pretty close.

Having grown up with bok choy, my parents are masters at keeping it fresh. They usually buy bok choy in bulk (5-6 pounds at a time), so they have a bunch of tips for maximizing freshness.

The main goal is to keep it as dry as possible in the refrigerator.

  • Grocery stores generally keep them somewhat moist, so when you first come home from the store, lay out all of the bok choy on a towel so they can dry.
  • Before placing it in the refrigerator, poke holes in a plastic bag and set a paper towel inside of it. This helps absorb some excess moisture.

My dad also likes to peel the outermost layers of bok choy stalks to make soup with. These layers are the firmest and most fibrous, so they work well with soups.

He'll save the inner layers for bok choy stir fry (which we also have a recipe for!)

To prepare our pork chops (4 oz), we'll first need to trim away the fatty edges.

Then, we'll cut the pork chops perpendicular to the muscle grains into a few pieces, and then into thin slices (about 2mm thick). This helps give the meat more of a tender chew when we eat it.

Next, we'll marinate our pork with cornstarch (1 tsp), oyster sauce (1 tsp), and water (1 tbsp). Stir the mixture until it’s fairly even, and add the pork. Using a bit of force, massage the pork for about 30 seconds to help the pork absorb the marinade.

We'll need to wash the baby bok choy (1 lb) thoroughly:

  • Peel away each individual stem, and toss them into a bowl of large water
  • Scrub your fingers along the bottom of each stem closest to the root. Dirt usually accumulates here.
  • Rinse under running water.
  • If you have time, my parents like to soak the bok choy in water for 30 minutes.

The stalks of bok choy are all inherently different sizes, so we'll want to make two cuts for the bigger stalks:

  • one to separate the stalks in half
  • and another to separate them from the leaves.

You don't absolutely have to do this, but it helps with the texture. You can skip this for smaller stalks.

Set your stove to high heat. In a pot, we'll bring water (5 cups) and chicken broth (14 oz) to a boil.

We'll also add oil (1 tsp), salt (1 tsp), and a few slices of ginger (optional).

The salt and oil help to preserve the bok choy's color.

Cover, and wait for it to boil.

Once the pot has come to a boil, we'll throw in our bok choy, starting with the stems/roots. These are thicker and take longer to cook.

Shortly after, we'll throw in the leaves.

Cover, and wait for the pot to return to a gentle boil.

Once the bok choy has returned to a boil, add the pork slices a few at a time, making sure to separate them from one another. We can also add chicken bouillon (1 tsp) (optional).

Stir for a bit. After adding the pork chops, once the pot returns to a boil, the soup is ready to eat. This should take about 1-2 minutes.

After you’ve cooked it, we can keep the bok choy in the soup and eat it as is.

Or, often what we’ll do is scoop the bok choy out, drink the soup, and eat the bok choy separately.

If you're making this in a bigger batch, you may want to transfer the bok choy out of the soup, as it will start to lose its color and firmness the longer it sits in hot water.

It's up to you!

Summary

Bok Choy & Pork Soup (白菜猪肉汤)
Learn one of my dad's go-to recipes that's easy, quick, and healthy!
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Total Time: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
    Main Ingredients
  • 1 lb baby bok choy (

    the larger bok choy works too, more on this later

    )
  • 4 oz pork chop
  • Soup Base
  • 14 oz chicken broth
  • 5 cups water (

    soup base

    )
  • ginger (

    optional - just a few slices

    )
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chicken bouillon (

    optional

    )
  • Pork Marinade
  • 1 tsp cornstarch (

    pork marinade

    )
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce (

    pork marinade

    )
  • 1 tbsp water (

    pork marinade

    )
Step 1 - TIPS - How to keep bok choy fresh↑ Jump to details

Having grown up with bok choy, my parents are masters at keeping it fresh. They usually buy bok choy in bulk (5-6 pounds at a time), so they have a bunch of tips for maximizing freshness.

The main goal is to keep it as dry as possible in the refrigerator.

  • Grocery stores generally keep them somewhat moist, so when you first come home from the store, lay out all of the bok choy on a towel so they can dry.
  • Before placing it in the refrigerator, poke holes in a plastic bag and set a paper towel inside of it. This helps absorb some excess moisture.

My dad also likes to peel the outermost layers of bok choy stalks to make soup with. These layers are the firmest and most fibrous, so they work well with soups.

He'll save the inner layers for bok choy stir fry (which we also have a recipe for!)

Step 2 - Prepare pork↑ Jump to details

To prepare our pork chops (4 oz), we'll first need to trim away the fatty edges.

Then, we'll cut the pork chops perpendicular to the muscle grains into a few pieces, and then into thin slices (about 2mm thick). This helps give the meat more of a tender chew when we eat it.

Next, we'll marinate our pork with cornstarch (1 tsp), oyster sauce (1 tsp), and water (1 tbsp). Stir the mixture until it’s fairly even, and add the pork. Using a bit of force, massage the pork for about 30 seconds to help the pork absorb the marinade.

Step 3 - Wash bok choy↑ Jump to details

You'll need to wash the baby bok choy (1 lb) thoroughly:

  • Peel away each individual stem, and toss them into a bowl of large water
  • Scrub your fingers along the bottom of each stem closest to the root. Dirt usually accumulates here.
  • Rinse under running water.
  • If you have time, my parents like to soak the bok choy in water for 30 minutes.
Step 4 - Trim bok choy↑ Jump to details

The stalks of bok choy are all inherently different sizes, so we'll want to make two cuts for the bigger stalks:

  • one to separate the stalks in half
  • and another to separate them from the leaves.

You don't absolutely have to do this, but it helps with the texture. You can skip this for smaller stalks.

Step 5 - Prepare soup base↑ Jump to details

Set your stove to high heat. In a pot, we'll bring water (5 cups) and chicken broth (14 oz) to a boil.

We'll also add oil (1 tsp), salt (1 tsp), chicken bouillon (1 tsp) (optional), and a few slices of ginger (optional).

The salt and oil help to preserve the bok choy's color.

Cover, and wait for it to boil.

Step 6 - Cook bok choy↑ Jump to details

Once the pot has come to a boil, we'll throw in our bok choy, starting with the stems/roots. These are thicker and take longer to cook.

Shortly after, we'll throw in the leaves.

Cover, and wait for the pot to return to a gentle boil.

Step 7 - Cook pork↑ Jump to details

Once the bok choy has returned to a boil, add the pork slices a few at a time, making sure to separate them from one another. We can also add chicken bouillon (1 tsp) (optional).

Stir for a bit. After adding the pork chops, once the pot returns to a boil, the soup is ready to eat. This should take about 1-2 minutes.

Step 8 - Plate & enjoy!↑ Jump to details

After you’ve cooked it, we can keep the bok choy in the soup and eat it as is.

Or, often what we’ll do is scoop the bok choy out, drink the soup, and eat the bok choy separately.

If you're making this in a bigger batch, you may want to transfer the bok choy out of the soup, as it will start to lose its color and firmness the longer it sits in hot water.

It's up to you!

Step 9 - Take pictures
Whip out your camera (1). Begin taking photos (1,000,000). Pick your favorites!
Step 10 - Share and tag us on Instagram @madewithlau #madewithlau!
Did you have fun making this recipe? We'd love to see & hear about it. (Especially my dad. He would be THRILLED!)

Enjoy!

My sister and I have many, many happy memories enjoying this dish growing up.

Now, hopefully, you can create your own memories with this dish with your loved ones.

Also, I cordially invite you to eat with us and learn more about the dish, Chinese culture, and my family.

Cheers, and thanks for cooking with us!

Feel free to comment below if you have any questions about the recipe.

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About Made With Lau

We started Made With Lau to honor and share the legacy of our wonderful parents, Jenny and Chung Sun Lau.

Our hope is that these posts give you (and our future generations) a glimpse into how great they are!