The popularity of Chinese cabbage commonly known as bok choy is on the rise in Kenya due to its multiple health benefits and culinary versatility. Bok choy, a leafy green vegetable, is gaining traction among farmers and consumers alike for its exceptional taste and nutritional value
This vegetable, native to China but now widely cultivated globally, has found a special place in Kenyan cuisine, thanks to its unique flavour and various health advantages.
Bok choy is celebrated for its high water content, comprising about 95% of its composition. It also contains 2% starch, 1% protein, and less than 3% fat. Its low calorie, nutrient-dense nature makes it a favourite among health-conscious individuals.
In Kiambu County’s Kimuyu village, Jane Kimari has embraced modern farming techniques, particularly the storey garden system, to cultivate bok choy.
This innovative approach allows her to overcome land constraints and grow bok choy vertically. The vertical farming method ensures a continuous supply of fresh bok choyfor both household consumption and local markets.
Bok choy’s culinary appeal lies in its quick cooking time and versatility. It can be prepared similarly to cabbage or kale, requiring only a few minutes of cooking.
Moreover, its tender leaves make it an excellent choice for salads and other raw dishes, adding a delightful crunch and nutritional boost to meals.
Ms Kimari emphasizes the ease of cultivating bok choy, especially when farmers select quality seeds from reputable sources. “Bok choy performs well with moderate sunlight. It should be exposed to sunlight for three to four hours every day,” she said
While it can adapt to moderate sunlight, it thrives in regions with consistent rainfall, ensuring a bountiful harvest. Beyond its culinary applications, bok choy is valued for its rich mineral content, including potassium, calcium, and phosphorus.
These minerals contribute to heart health, aid in blood purification, and support overall respiratory well-being. bok choy’s versatility extends to preservation methods, allowing farmers and consumers to dry and store it for extended periods, ensuring a steady supply throughout the year.
In local markets, bok choy is priced between Ksh130-150 per kilo, reflecting its growing popularity and demand. Its rising prominence in Kenyan cuisine is not only attributed to its taste but also to the increasing awareness of its health benefits.
As more farmers like Jane Kimari adopt modern farming techniques and cultivate bok choy, this nutritious vegetable continues to enrich Kenyan tables.