Dried Pak Choi is a traditional food in Southern China. Pak Choi (Brassica rapa chinensis) is abundant during summer and is a common dish for Chinese and southeast Asians. In the old days, the farmers dried Pak Choi under the Sun and stored for consumption in cold winter. Nowadays, dried Pak Choi is a delicacy and common soup ingredient for people of southern China origin.
It is increasingly difficult to get good quality dried Pak Choi in the market. The price is going up but the quality is going down. It would be better to make the dried Pak Choi at home as the quality can be assured.
Making dried Pak Choi is not difficult and only takes about 30 hours, much faster than many would have imagined. The food dehydrator takes care of the drying process and you only need to check its status 2 or 3 times and spend about 10 minutes each time.
The ingredient to make dried Pak Choi is obviously the fresh Pak Choi. You should choose the white Pak Choi, not the Shanghainese green variety, and the larger the better. After drying, the weight is about 1/15 of the original. If you buy the baby Pak Choi, the dried Pak Choi will be very tiny.
You need to use steamer and food dehydrator in the process. (refer to Home-Made Food Dehydrator on how to make a dehydrator yourself)
Home-Made Food Dehydrator
Wash the Pak Choi thoroughly and split the leaves so that it is easier to dry.
Fill the steamer with water and boil the water.
Put the Pak Choi in the steamer basket and steam for 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can boil the Pak Choi in hot water but nutrition will be lost this way. Steaming the Pak Choi should preserve its nutrition better.
After steaming for 10 minutes, the Pak Choi should be fully cooked. The Pak Choi must be fully cooked. Otherwise, the green leaves turns yellow during the drying process.
Place the steamed Pak Choi on the Barbecue grates
Put the grates back to the food dehydrator and turn the fan on to dry the Pak Choi.
The process takes about 30 hours to dry the Pak Choi completely. The food dehydrator works automatically and you don’t need to monitor the process constantly. You may need to change the grates positions once or twice during the process to dry the Pak Choi faster.
Dried Pak Choi
The dried Pak Choi can be stored in refrigerator for months. You can cook the dried Pak Choi with fresh carrot, corn sticks, water chestnuts and pork. It is a delicious authentic Chinese soup.