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Pickled Mustard Greens

Pickled Mustard Greens

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makes generous 2 cups Servings


  • 2 10-ounce packages pickled mustard greens (such as Caravelle brand cai chua)*
  • 1 red jalapeño chile, seeded, chopped

Recipe Preparation

  • Drain greens; rinse and drain again. Cut out and discard core from greens, then coarsely chop leaves (will yield about 3 1/2 cups).

  • Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté 30 seconds. Add chopped greens. Stir 3 minutes. Sprinkle sugar over, then ¼ teaspoon salt; stir to blend. Mix in jalapeño chile; stir 1 minute. Transfer to bowl and cool. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 week ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Nutritional Content

One serving contains the following: Calories (kcal) 75.3 %Calories from Fat 67.2 Fat (g) 5.7 Saturated Fat (g) 0.4 Cholesterol (mg) 0 Carbohydrates (g) 5.6 Dietary Fiber (g) 1.9 Total Sugars (g) 3.5 Net Carbs (g) 3.7 Protein (g) 1.6Reviews Section

A good substitution for pickled mustard greens would be sauerkraut.

This is most commonly found in Asian grocery stores and packaged in a vacuum packed plastic packaging. I personally have not seen any in glass containers, but if I ever do I'll update you with the details.

There are a gazillion different pickles and preserved vegetables in the Asian supermarkets so it may be intimidating to find it. To find the right one, make sure you see the word "Mustard Green" in the ingredients of the label. You might come across some that say "Mustard Stems" that have chili in the list of ingredient, that is a totally different type of preserved vegetable and not the same thing as Pickled Mustard Green.

Recipe Summary

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brandy or whisky
  • 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 pound ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon Asian sesame paste
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chili oil
  • 1 teaspoon Asian sesame oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 4 heads of baby bok choy, quartered lengthwise
  • 1/2 pound thin fresh Asian noodles, preferably Shanghainese, or fresh linguine or spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons minced Chinese pickled mustard greens (optional)
  • 2 scallions, white parts only, minced

Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. In a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce with the brandy, hoisin sauce and cornstarch. Blend the mixture into the ground pork.

In a small bowl, whisk the sesame paste with the vinegar and the remaining 2 tablespoons of soy sauce until smooth. In a small saucepan, heat the chili and sesame oils. Add the garlic and cook over high heat for 30 seconds. Add the sesame paste mixture and simmer for 1 minute. Add the stock and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced slightly, about 3 minutes.

In a small skillet, heat the vegetable oil. Add the seasoned ground pork and cook over moderately high heat, breaking up the meat with a spatula, until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Cover the skillet and remove from the heat.

Add the bok choy to the boiling water and cook until bright green, about 10 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bok choy to 4 small bowls. Cook the noodles in the boiling water until al dente, about 3 minutes. Drain well and transfer to the bowls. Pour the sauce over the noodles and spoon the ground pork on top. Garnish with the pickled mustard greens and scallions and serve.

Pickled Mustard - Pak Gard Dong ผักกาดดอง

Pickled mustard may not be a star in dishes, but it enhances other ingredients with its sour flavor. Without pickled mustard, kanom jeen namya is bland and curry noodles lack the sour punch that cuts through the rich sauce.

You can easily buy pickled mustard at Asian markets, but I like the flavor of my homemade mustard green best. Another reason that I stopped buying pickled mustard is because many contain food coloring. There is no need for the additives, if you make it right.

Follow the easy recipe below.

Tips and Techniques

  • The purpose of the sugar is to feed the microbes. Some people use the water that you rinse rice with, instead of sugar. Since you may not have rice rinse water on hand when you're making the pickles, I call for sugar, but you're welcome to use the rice rinse. Afterall, carbohydrates from rice turn into some form of sugar.
  • In the North and Northeast, pickled mustard is made with cooked sticky rice instead of rice rinse or sugar.


Prepping the Greens

Rinse mustard greens in cold water. Make sure you get the dirt between the leaves out, especially on the stems. Cut them lengthwise or into large chunks and place in a large bowl. Add the salt and mix them well. My mother would add just salt and massage the salt into the mustard greens. Some how I can't bring myself to bruise the beautiful greens. My unconventional method is to add salt and mix them. Then add some water to dissolve the salt so that it can get inside the mustard greens. Leave the mustard greens at room temperature overnight.

Preparing the Container

Any glass jar (or old pickles jar) is great for pickling mustard. Wash the jar in dishwasher (high water temperature) or boil the jar for 10 minutes to sterilize the jar.

Packing and Pickling

After sitting in brine overnight, the mustard greens should be wilted, but still green. Rinse mustard greens in cold running water to remove the salt. Pack them into the jar tightly.

Add a teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Pour enough water to cover the mustard greens. With my jar, it took 2 cups of water to cover the mustard. Close the lid.

You may want to place a small dish or bowl inside the jar, on top of the greens, to push the greens down and keep them submerged. Keep the jar at room temperature. You'll see the color starting to change from green to yellowish green. It took 1 week during the fall with average room temperature at 70 degrees. When I make it in Thailand, it takes 12 hours at room temperature(90 degrees).

When the pickled mustard is ready, it should be yellowish green. Taste a piece to see if it is ready. It should be sour and salty, but more sour than salty. Be careful when you take the pickled mustard out, your utensil must be clean and dry. Any water or other materials that get dropped into the jar can make the whole jar goes bad.

Your pickled mustard&rsquos gone bad?

When you see whitish film floating on top, it&rsquos time to start a new jar. Toss out the bad pickled mustard. Wash and sterilize the jar in boiling water for 10 minutes. Start over again.

How long can you keep the pickled mustard?

I usually make mine at the end of summer or in fall. I keep the pickled mustard until the beginning of the summer in the jar at room temperature.

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Pickled Mustard Greens (Burong Mustasa)

Pickled mustard greens (burong mustasa) is where mustard greens are fermented in brine for 3-5 days. Learn how to make them the easiest and simplest way.

I've harvested some mustard greens (mustasa) from my pallet planter boxes some days ago. In the photo below, they are the ones with the big leaves on the right side of the box and in front and at the back. I brought the seeds from the Philippines. I do not think they are popularly known to be edible here in Germany, can't even find a German word for it. So I thought I'll just grow me some of these piquant greens.

What to do with my fresh bounty? I would eat them fresh if I have some 'buro'. Buro is a Kapampangan delicacy of fermented rice with (fresh) fish or shrimp. It has a pungent smell and is usually an acquired taste.

So for now, I made pickled mustard greens or 'burong mustasa' instead. So how do you make pickled mustard greens. There are different methods I found but of course, I chose the easiest and most basic one.

First, wash every single leaf with water. Making sure they are clean.

Pat them dry with a paper towel and leave them to dry out a bit for some hours or overnight.

This is absolutely optional. Others just cut them into smaller pieces but I wanted to have it exactly like how I remember them from our local market. So I tied each leaf into knots.

Place the knotted leaves in a bowl. Sprinkle with rock salt and add water.

Gently massage using your hands.

Transfer the leaves to a jar and fill the jar with the brine solution. Cover and place in a dark place with room temperature for three to five days.

They would look like this after 3-5 days and they are ready.

Pickled mustard greens can be eaten as it is. But the usual Filipino way was to saute it with scrambled eggs added. On my next post, I will share a similar recipe with my batch of pickled mustard greens. It was simple but really good! Armin loved it, too bad I only made a small batch to try. Now I have to wait for my next harvest time to make it again.

Pickled Mustard Greens (Haam Choy): Recipe Instructions

In addition to the ingredients (mustard greens, ginger, salt, sugar, and white vinegar), you’ll need a ½ gallon tempered glass jar that you can thoroughly clean and disinfect.

Trim and wash:

Trim the tough base off of the mustard greens, along with any yellow or brown portions of the leaves.

Clean them thoroughly to remove any dirt or sand. This step is very important.

Soak them in a large bowl of water for 10 minutes, shaking and agitating the vegetables to loosen the grit. Lift the vegetables out of the dirty water and rinse. Rinse the bowl, fill with fresh water, and repeat this process two more times.


In a large pot, add 10 cups (2.4 liters) of water. Bring to a boil, and turn the heat down to medium low. Stir in 1 ½ tablespoons (26g) of salt, until dissolved.

If making a larger batch, increase these amounts proportionally. The servings scaling feature in our recipe card at the bottom of the post will do it automatically!

Place the mustard greens into the simmering water 1 or 2 at a time, so they’re completely submerged. Blanch for 30 seconds, rotating them to evenly heat them on all sides.

Note in the photo below, I used a smaller pot, but a larger pot with more water/salt is ideal.

Lift the mustard greens out of the water and transfer to a clean sheet pan to cool.

Next, put the sliced ginger into the blanching water and bring the water back to a simmer.

Once simmering, turn off the heat, and allow the liquid to cool to room temperature.

Salt the mustard greens:

Once the vegetables are cool enough to handle, pour off any excess water from your sheet pan. Rub salt (2 ¼ teaspoons/13g per pound of mustard greens) all over the greens.

A Quick Note on Salt!

In the video, my aunt says that any salt will work for this recipe (“Any salt is fine! Come on.”), and my grandmother uses iodized salt for the various steps. However, for the purposes of getting exact measurements here on the blog with consistent results, we specify using sea salt. You can use iodized salt, but it is saltier than sea salt, so you may have to adjust the recipe and use a bit less.

Get into the inner stems and rub the salt evenly across each stem/leaf until it has dissolved.

Place into a non-reactive bowl—stainless steel, enamel, ceramic, or glass work.

Pour the ginger-infused blanching liquid over the vegetables.

Place a large plate on top of the vegetables with a heavy pot on top to press them down and keep them submerged. Allow the greens to sit in the salted water for 24 hours at room temperature, covered with a clean towel or paper.

Prepare & fill the pickling jar:

Disinfect the jar by first washing it thoroughly. Wash your hands, and rinse the jar with boiling water. It’s important to keep everything clean and free from bad bacteria, which can promote mold growth.

Remove the weight from the bowl of greens.

With clean hands or tongs, lift the mustard greens out of the brine solution and let any excess liquid drain for a few seconds.

Squeeze the vegetables tightly. This removes spaces where air bubbles can form, and also makes them more compact.

Here you can see grandma doing the same thing:

Place them into the jar along with the ginger slices. Do your best to squeeze the vegetables into the jar and distribute the ginger evenly. Reserve the brine, as you will be adding it to the jar momentarily.

Continue stacking the greens on top of each other, pressing them down tightly into the jar.

Measure 1 teaspoon (6g) salt and ¾ teaspoon (3g) sugar per pound of greens, and sprinkle on top of the vegetables in the jar.

Measure out 2 tablespoons (30 ml) white vinegar per pound of vegetables, and pour it over the salt and sugar in the jar.

Next, use a clean ladle to carefully transfer the brine into the jar until it is almost full.

Check for air pockets near the bottom of the jar. Use a chopstick to move the mustard greens around to release any air bubbles.

You can also cap the jar and move it around to coax air bubbles up to the top.

Once you feel all air bubbles have been eliminated, fill the jar to the top to ensure that all of the greens are completely submerged in liquid.

Take a 10- to 12-inch square piece of plastic wrap and fold it in half twice to make a neat smaller square. Place it over the jar, making sure there are no air bubbles under the plastic wrap.

Screw the top on over the plastic wrap to create an airtight fit.

Use a clean kitchen cloth to wipe any liquid from the jar and place a label on it with the date.

Place the jar in a cool dark place for about 2 days, or until the mustard greens have turned from a bright green to a dull green.

When my grandma first described it to me, she said to me in Cantonese, “you have to wait until the vegetables guo qiang.” I had no idea what she was saying, and she gave me this slightly bewildered look.

But then I remembered my mom describing this to me a very long time ago. Guo qiang in Cantonese is 过青 or guò qīng in Mandarin, or literally “past green.”

Refrigeration and storage:

After the mustard greens turn a dull green (2 days), put them in the back of the refrigerator, and they should be ready to eat in 7 days.

When removing the vegetables from the jar, use clean utensils and clean hands, so no contamination occurs.

They will keep for weeks in the refrigerator, but it’s best to use them within a month or two.

I was pretty surprised at how little time it takes to make such a complex ingredient, but we cooked a Chicken with Haam Choy stir-fry 10 days after we began the process, and it was delicious! The Mustard greens were fragrant and took on a nice gingery taste.

Enjoy my grandmother’s traditional haam choy recipe! It has officially been passed down to the next generation.

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Burmese-Style Pickled Mustard Greens

These were inspired by the sour mustard greens served at Mandalay restaurant in Silver Spring.

Make Ahead: The greens can be eaten after 3 days. Refrigerate in brine in sealed jars for up to 1 month.

Servings: 6 cups

Coarsely chop the stems and leaves of the mustard greens place in a very large glass or other nonreactive bowl.

Boil the 1 cup of water transfer to a small bowl if needed, then stir in the sugar and salt until dissolved. Stir in the vinegar. Pour the mixture over the mustard greens, then add the ginger and enough cold water to ensure that the greens are completely submerged. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 3 days.

At this point, the greens can be served. If you don't eat them right away, refrigerate in airtight containers, using enough of the brine to completely submerge the greens, for up to 1 month.

Pickled Collard Greens

1 large bunch of collard greens
2 cups water
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Wash and chop the collard greens. I usually remove the center ribs from the leaves before chopping.

In a pot over high heat, bring the water, vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the chopped collards and cook for 5 (for crunchy collards – these are actually better after a few days in the fridge) to 20 (for use right away as a condiment or side dish) minutes. Let the collards and pickling liquid cool and then transfer to a large Mason jar. Refrigerate at least several hours (a couple of days is even better) before use.

Watch the video: Πράσινα φύλλα μουστάρδας - Καραλάκης, Ιεράπετρα