Dua Chua Lactofermented Mustard Greens

dua chua

Mustard greens are great in stir fry’s and soups but a favorite way to this enjoy this vegetable is lactofermented, dua cai chua.   Growing up my mom always had a big jar of dua cai chua to serve during our weekday meals to complement any protein dish she made, whether it be ca kho to (clay pot fish), suon xao chua ngot (sweet sour pork ribs), thit kho (caramelized pork belly), or ga kho (caramelized chicken).  The pickling decreases some of the bite of the bitterness and pungeness of the raw vegetable and brings out the natural sweet and sour of the mustard greens.

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.

There’s no measurements in this recipe, it’s that simple.  All you need to do is make a 2-4% salt brine (ie. 1000 ml of water gets 20-40 g of salt) and it’ll take 2-5 days or more depending on how hot the weather is.  At the desire level of fermentation, store inside the fridge to keep for a longer time.
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.

Dua Cai Chua - Lactofermented Mustard Greens

You will need a scale and a container with a lid. Any food safe plastic or glass container will do. The fermentation will go faster in hotter temperatures. You will need only as much water to cover your mustard greens, hence we do not list a set amount. You need to make 2-4% salt solution, depending on your preferences. When done with the batch, save some of the liquid to inoculate the next batch and it'll go quicker.


1-2 bunch of whole mustard greens, stem and leaves sliced in 1-2 inch segments.
1-2 onions, sliced thinly.
kosher or sea salt 


Wilt the mustard greens leaves in the direct sun until leaves wilt, usually a couple of hours. 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 and leave on counter. 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.

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.

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