Grilled Pak Choi with Siam Vinaigrette Dressing
Several years ago I had the opportunity to live in Thailand on Phuket Island with one of my best friends. Because of its location we would travel frequently throughout South East Asia to mix things up a bit. We traveled to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and China and many points beyond. We had a great time. He and I had a lot of fun, a lot of food and of course, a lot of regional liquors. Malaysia is a predominately Muslim Country that frowns upon alcohol, but we imbibed anyway. As a chef, I paid particular attention to the amazing variations of Asian cuisine. These countries pretty much share the same ingredients, but each one has its own way of preparing them. The following recipe uses simple ingredients and it pairs well with beef, chicken, or fish. Offer it as a staring course or a side dish. Either way, it will be a hit at your next outdoor party and remember to always buy from your local farmer’s market. Enjoy! –Tpum
≽ Pak Choi aka: Baby Bok Choy, Shanghai Pak Choi, Baby Chinese cabbage (use one head for each guest). This recipe is meant for a gathering of 10-12 people. If you invite less people you can halve the dressing recipe or save the remaining amount in a jar for later use.
≽ ½ cup rice vinegar
≽ ½ cup light cooking oil
≽ 1 tsp. fresh minced ginger
≽ 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
≽ ½ tsp. whole grain mustard
≽ 3 tbsp. black sesame seeds
≽ Kosher Salt and some Fresh Cracked Pepper Corns
≽ Large mixing bowl or wooden salad bowl
≽ Charcoal grill or gas powered grill if you don’t use charcoal
The Siam Dressing is very easy to make. Simple put all of the ingredients into a jar with a lid and shake vigorously until the oil, mustard and vinegar emulsifies. Don’t be tempted to combine in a blender or food processor. This will turn the ginger and sesame seeds into a mustardy paste.
- Halve the Pak Choi length wise, rinse and dry.
- Toss the halves in a bowl with a small amount of light oil and sprinkle just a bit of Kosher Salt and a few twists of a pepper grinder. Medium setting.
- Over a medium temperature grill, place the Pak Choi halves flat side down and cover them with an aluminum baking pan or even a cast iron skillet. This technique works like a grill oven and will help to cook faster. After several minutes, remove the cover and continue to cook turning often. Be careful of flare-ups due to dripping oil. You really don’t want to use enough oil in step 2 for this to happen. You’re looking for a nice light char especially on the white bulb part. If the leafy tops look like they may be getting too charred, place a piece of foil under them.
- Remove from the grill, place on a plate and let cool to room or in this case, outdoor temperature.
- Once cooled, return to the mixing bowl, add enough of the dressing to coat and serve. You can place extra dressing on your table in case your guests prefer a bit more.
The final step is to pour yourself a glass of wine, or crack open a cold beer and most importantly, enjoy this time and your meal with friends and family. Enjoy life, eat out more often. Outside that is….