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Bok choy soup is a Cantonese recipe that is quick, healthy, and delicious. The bok choy soup broth is packed with ginger and garlic, making this dish a super flu fighter. I like making bok choy soup with noodles and protein for an easy and light lunch or comforting dinner.
If you aren’t familiar with bok choy or pak choy (based on the Cantonese pronunciation of the word 白菜), then it might just become one of your favorite vegetables. It has a subtle cabbage-like flavor but also resembles water chestnuts. Some even say it has a slight peppery kick.
Why We Love This Bok Choy Soup
First of all, this ginger bok choy soup with noodles is yummy for the taste buds and your tummy. The ginger and vegetable aid in digestion while the savory broth makes you want to slurp those noodles up.
Bok choy soup is endlessly versatile. It can be made vegetarian, vegan, or with any other meat besides pork. You can add noodles, wontons, dumplings, mushrooms, and other vegetables. We’ve got a lot of ideas in the Notes & Variations section to inspire you.
It’s quick and simple. This recipe takes only 15 minutes to prep and has only 6 base ingredients. You probably have most ingredients in your pantry, you’ll just need to buy some baby bok choy (or grown bok choy).
Bok choy soup is healthy and immune boosting. It’s perfect for fighting off flues or preventing them thanks to the ginger and garlic. The bok choy is loaded with fiber and nutrients such as vitamin C which fights free radicals.
What Ingredients Do I Need For Bok Choy Soup?
The traditional bok choy soup recipe calls for 6 ingredients (plus a little salt):
- 1 lb baby bok choy (or large bok choy – see notes)
- 2 cups chicken broth (or vegetable broth for a vegetarian or vegan alternative)
- 5 cups water
- 1 inch of ginger, sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, lightly bashed
- 1 tsp of toasted sesame oil (optional)
- 1 tsp salt (or more to taste)
To make bok choy soup with pork and noodles, you’ll need to marinate thin pork slices and add noodles and soy sauce for serving:
- 4 oz. pork tenderloin, cut into thin slices
- 1 tsp. light soy sauce
- 1 tsp. corn starch
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 7 oz. rice noodles (ramen noodles or wanton noodles work as well)
- More light soy sauce for serving (otherwise the noodles will be bland)
How To Make Bok Choy Soup
This traditional Cantonese bok choy soup is very simple. If you’re making a vegetarian version, you can skip the marinating of the meat and add some marinated or plain tofu or more veggies instead.
Step 1: Wash and slice the bok choy
- Cut off any parts near the stem to be able to wash off the dirt easily.
- Remove each individual stem and place the bok choy in a large bowl of water.
- Scrub the bottom of each stem closest to the root with your fingers. Dirt usually builds up here. Rinse thoroughly under running water.
- If you have time, soak the bok choy for at least 30 minutes to remove any plausible pesticides or insecticides.
- For large bok choy, make two cuts for each stalk – one to separate the stalks in half and another to separate them from the leaves.
Step 2: Prepare the other ingredients
- Bash the cloves of garlic lightly, slice your ginger, and set them aside. These ingredients are crucial for flavor (and their health benefits).
- Cut the pork tenderloin into thin slices. You can do the same with chicken breast or boneless chicken thighs.
Step 4: Rub the marinade of light soy sauce, cornstarch and salt into the meat
Rub the marinade of light soy sauce, cornstarch, and salt into the meat and let it sit for at least 15 minutes. The longer the meat marinates, the more flavor it’ll absorb and the tastier it’ll be in the soup.
Step 5: Bring the water and chicken broth to a boil.
In a large soup pot, bring the water and chicken broth to a boil. You can also use homemade chicken broth, vegetable broth, or another bone broth like this Low FODMAP Bone Broth recipe with beef marrow bones.
Step 6: Toss in the garlic cloves, ginger slices and salt.
When the broth boils, toss in the garlic cloves, ginger slices, and salt.
Step 7: Add the bok choy
Then add the bok choy and wait until it boils again. Simmer the baby bok choy over medium heat for 1 minute. If using large bok choy, simmer for 2 minutes.
Step 8: Add the pork slices
Without skipping a beat, add the marinated pork slices and stir well. Cook for about one minute.
Step 9: Add the noodles
- Add the noodles and cook for another minute.
Step 7: Serve and enjoy!
- Serve immediately and top with sesame oil and light soy sauce to taste.
Notes & Variations
- If you’re wondering how long to boil bok choy in soup, the answer is less than 3 minutes. Baby bok choy only needs to boil for 1-2 minutes, while large bok choy needs 2-3 minutes. If you boil it longer, the vegetable loses nutritional properties and texture.
- Bok choy soup shouldn’t be frozen because the bok choy and noodles will become mushy when reheated. This soup is best enjoyed fresh and it’s so easy and quick to make anyways.
- You can, however, wash the bok choy ahead of time, dry it and store it in the fridge in a bag with holes and paper towels. This allows any excess moisture to evaporate and keeps the vegetable fresher for longer. The bok choy will keep for 3-6 days.
- You can easily make this recipe into chicken bok choy ginger soup with or without noodles. Chicken breasts or boneless thighs are a good alternative to pork tenderloin. Cut the slices super thin and marinate them the same as you would pork.
- If you’re making bok choy soup with chicken, make sure to cook the chicken longer (before adding the bok choy). Thin chicken cutlets need about 8 minutes to cook. You don’t want to risk it with underdone chicken.
- I love making this bok choy soup with dumplings instead of pork and noodles. You can use store-bought or homemade dumplings like these Shrimp Shumai Dumplings. Add them last when they’re hot or boil them for 1 minute to heat them up.
- Bok choy soup with wontons is another one of my favorite variations. Wontons are more flavorful than dumplings because the filling is usually fully seasoned. You won’t even need to add any soy sauce to the soup when serving.
- For a scrumptious vegan bok choy soup, try adding this yummy Homemade Miso Glazed Tofu for protein. You could also add plain tofu and serve with soy sauce, but pre-marinating and cooking the tofu makes it so much better.
- If you’re not a fan of tofu, try adding some runny poached eggs for a creamy and satisfying vegetarian meal. You can also try bok choy soup with mushrooms, edamame or even vegan meatballs. Yum!
- 1 lb baby bok choy
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 5 cups water
- 1 inch of ginger sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic lightly bashed
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 oz. pork tenderloin cut into thin slices
- 1 tsp. light soy sauce + more for serving the soup
- 1 tsp. corn starch
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 7 oz. rice noodles
- 1 tsp of toasted sesame oil optional
- All ingredients ready? Let's begin!
- Marinate the pork in soy sauce, cornstarch, and salt. Let rest for 15 minutes.
- Cut off the stems, separate each stalk and wash the bok choy under running water several times, rubbing dirt off with your hands. For large bok choy, make two cuts for each stalk – one to separate the stalks in half and another to separate them from the leaves.
- In a large soup pot, bring the water and chicken broth to a boil.
- Toss in the ginger, garlic, salt, and bok choy. Let the broth boil again.
- Simmer for 1 minute over medium heat or 2 minutes if using large bok choy.
- Add pork slices, boil for 1 minute. Add noodles and boil 1 minute more.
- Transfer to soup bowls and serve with sesame oil and light soy sauce. Enjoy!