There are many different ways to pickle, from quick pickles with vinegar to lactofermentation. The classic do chua (pickled carrots and daikon) is the quick pickle. But unlike do chua, pickled mustard greens is lactofermente with salt and water and without vinegar. Pickling is like making nuoc mam, many people have their variations and you can make it as complicated or as simple as you like. We typically only include yellow onion with the mustard greens, but you can include any other aromatics such as ginger or garlic or chiles. Dua cai chua requires very little preparation. We start by wilting it in the sun–if that’s not an option because of rain, a quick 30 second blanch in boiling water will work. We never buy pre-pickled packages or in the big bins in the Asian grocery stores because the ingredients should only be mustard greens, water, and salt not the long list of preservatives.
Comparing to what you can make at home it’s so much cheaper and healthier…what’s all those extra ingredients!? The salt brine and natural bitterness of the mustard green ferments and in a few days you get tasty, crunchy dua chua.
Always keep handy and enjoy with any meat dish such as our sweet and sour pork ribs…the pickled mustard green is sour, sweet, and just enough bitterness and pungency to add any interest to whatever you’re making for dinner.
- kitchen scale
- lidded container
- 2 bunch mustard green trimmed with stem and leaves sliced in 2 inch segments
- 1 yellow onion sliced thinly
- 30 grams salt
- 1 liter water
- Wilt the mustard greens leaves in the direct sun until leaves wilt, about 1 hour. Cut and wash mustard greens. Make a 2-4% salt solution. We like it right down the middle at 3%, but test and use your preference. (for example, 1 liter or 1000 ml of water gets 20-40 grams of salt. Just submerge the mustard greens and onions in the solution, cover with lid and leave on counter in a warm spot such as by a window. We don't find the need to weigh it down, but you do need to rotate the greens every few days to make for even fermentation. Depending on the weather and ambient temperature it could take 3-5 days or longer to be done. The color will change from bright green to military green and the solution will slightly more viscous and have a pleasant sour smell. It should be sour but not bitter.
- You can keep it on the counter but it will continue to sour. We like to store ours in the fridge to slow down the fermentation and keeps longer.