Bok Choy with Hoisin Sauce

1 pound (16 to 18) bok choy or petite Shanghai cabbages, rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 or 5 scallions, white and light-green parts, cut crosswise into thin slices (1/4 cup)
1-inch piece peeled ginger root, finely chopped or minced (1 tablespoon)
2 tablespoons bourbon, whiskey or dry sherry
1 cup low-sodium or homemade chicken broth
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon sugar, or more to taste
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons cold water
1 to 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, for garnish


Position a steamer over several inches of water in a saucepan or wok and heat over medium-high heat. When the water comes to a boil, add the cabbages, cover and steam for 3 to 4 minutes, until they are brightly colored and just tender. You will probably need to do that in batches so the cabbages are not crowded in the steamer. As the cabbages are done, transfer them to a large platter, arranging them in a single layer.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the scallions and ginger; cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring, until the scallions start to soften. Add the bourbon, whiskey or sherry and cook for 30 seconds. Add the broth, toasted sesame oil, sugar and hoisin sauce. Stir to combine, and bring to a boil.

Whisk together the cornstarch and water in a small bowl until well incorporated, then add the mixture to the skillet. Once the mixture returns to a boil, cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until it has thickened. Remove from the heat. Taste, and adjust the seasoning as desired.

Pour the sauce over the steamed cabbages. Garnish with sesame seeds to taste, if using. Serve hot or at room temperature.

NOTE: Toast the sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring or shaking them frequently, just until fragrant and lightly browned.