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Jamaican Pok Choi
Hearty, Healthy and Delicious

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Jamaican Pok Choi | Image source: jamaican-recipes.comJamaican Pok Choi | Image source:

Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer

It is common for us Jamaicans to turn to leafy greens when looking for a healthy breakfast and one of our most popular choices is pok choy, which we pronounce as "pap chow".

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Pok Choi is often confused with its cousin, Bok Choy. So, let's clear the air about the differences between the two. While they share similar names and belong to the same family (Brassicaceae), there some are distinct varieties.

Pok Choy, scientifically known as Brassica rapa subsp.chinensis, has long, smooth, spoon-shaped green leaves with crunchy white stems. On the other hand, Bok Choy, scientifically referred to as Brassica rapa subsp.chinensis var.rosularis, has broader, darker green leaves with thicker, white stalks.

Nutritional Value and Health Benefits

Packed with Minerals and Vitamins: Vitamins A, C, and K are vital for strong bones, skin, and eyesight. Pok choy is a great source of these nutrients. It also supplies essential minerals that support general health, such as calcium, potassium, and iron.

Low in Calories, High in Fiber: Pok choy is a great addition to the diet for people watching their calorie consumption. It helps regulate weight and supports digestive health because it is high in dietary fibre and low in calories.

Antioxidant Properties: Packed with lutein and beta-carotene, which are potent antioxidants, pok choy lowers the risk of heart disease and cancer by preventing oxidative stress.

Promotes Bone Health: Because of its high vitamin K content, bok choy helps to promote bone health by lowering the risk of osteoporosis and facilitating the absorption of calcium.

Heart-Healthy: Pok choy's potassium concentration lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases by controlling blood pressure, which in turn promotes heart health.

As I mentioned before, pok choy is one of our go-to vegetables for breakfast. Normally we pair it with saltfish (cod fish) and boiled provisions such as yam, green banana and dumplings.

Jamaican Pok Choy and Saltfish Recipe


  • ยฝ to 1 pound Saltfish/Codfish (bones removed), boiled for 8-12 minutes
  • ยฝ to 1 pound or head of Jamaican Pok Choy, washed and chopped
  • 1 to 2 stalks Scallion, diced (optional)
  • 1 whole Onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 to 2 small Tomatoes, diced (optional)
  • 3 to 4 cloves Garlic, peeled and mashed
  • ยฝ Scotch Bonnet (or real chilli pepper), cut in half
  • ยผ teaspoon Pimento Seeds
  • 1 sprig Thyme (fresh)
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons Coconut Oil, Vegetable, or Olive oil


  1. Begin by boiling the Saltfish/Codfish in water for 8-12 minutes to remove excess salt and soften the fish. Once boiled, drain the fish, allow it to cool, and then shred it into smaller pieces, removing any remaining bones.
  2. Heat the coconut oil, vegetable oil, or olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the diced onions, mashed garlic, and diced scallions (if using) to the skillet. Sautรฉ until the onions are translucent and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Toss in the diced tomatoes (if using) and the pepper. Stir-fry for an additional 2 minutes to soften the tomatoes slightly.
  5. Add the shredded Saltfish/Codfish to the skillet, along with the pimento seeds and fresh thyme sprig. Continue to stir-fry for another 3-4 minutes to allow the flavours to meld.
  6. Finally, add the chopped Jamaican Pok Choy to the skillet. Stir-fry everything together for an additional 2 minutes, cover and allow the vegetables to soften.
  7. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary, keeping in mind that the Saltfish/Codfish may already be salty.

Serve hot as a flavorful and nutritious main dish alongside boiled provisions, roasted breadfruit or fried dumplings for a taste of an authentic Jamaican meal.

Pok Choy, with its distinct flavour and nutritional bounty, adds a delightful dimension to our Jamaican cuisine. Whether steamed, stir-fried, sautรฉed, or incorporated into soups and stews, this versatile vegetable never fails to impress. So, try this recipe and let us know what you think.

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References & Sources For Jamaican Pok Choi

  1. Bok choy: Health benefits, nutrition information, how to prepare it, and more (no date) WebMD. Available at: (Accessed: 30 March 2024).
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