Previously, we featured sayur bening — a clear vegetable soup, which is most often cooked using spinach. However, you can use any green vegetable in place of spinach. I like to use pakchoy (aka bok choy, bak choi) because it’s quick to cook and very tender.
For the broth, I’ve added anchovies (ikan teri in Indonesian, ikan bilis in Malay) to give the soup a sweetness and fullness of flavour. This is optional, and classic sayur bening recipes don’t usually include this. Instead of anchovies, dried shrimp (ebi in Indonesian, hebi in Malay/local Singaporean dialects) can be added. This gives a slightly sharper, shrimpier taste that can be quite addictive.
In this recipe, I’ve used baby bok choy instead of the usual ones, as they are smaller and tenderer. But the usual adult bok choys are great too, and the cooking technique is similar. Unlike spinach, the cooking time for bok choy is very short! Any overcooking will cause it to shrivel and turn slightly bitter.
So to cook bok choy, I’ll usually add it to the soup at the very end, mix it to make sure every bit is coated with the soup. I’ll then let it sit for 2 minutes or so. Alternatively, I’ll cover the pot to “steam” it for 2 minutes or so.Print
Sayur bening pakchoy is a clear, simple bok choy soup cooked with onions, garlic, chillies and anchovies. It’s light, healthy, and perfect for a quick and easy meal on a rainy day.
- 250g baby bok choy, chopped
- 1 tsp dried anchovies, rinsed (optional)
- 2 inches garlic, sliced
- 3 shallots, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 big red chillies, sliced (optional)
- 1 bird’s eye chilli, sliced
- 600ml water
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- Salt to taste
- In a wok or a pot, heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the shallots and saute until they soften, about 3 minutes.
- Add the garlic, ginger, and chillies. Saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add the water and the dried anchovies. Bring to a boil, and let it continue boiling for another 10 minutes. Adjust the seasoning.
- Add the baby bok choy and mix well. Once the soup starts boiling again, turn off the flame immediately.
- Bok choy should be blanched, not boiled.
Keywords: Quick and easy, healthy, one pot meal, common ingredients