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Preserved Chinese Vegetables (Mustard Green) with Pork Stir-fry Recipe

Sunday, July 18, 2010 | Labels: , , , , |

The preserved mustard green or zha cai (榨菜) which is often spicy is definitely my favourite among the plethora of Chinese preserved vegetables available. For the uninitiated however, Chinese preserved vegetables may be too pungent in scent and appear rather unpalatable. The preserved vegetable of choice today is often marinated in salt and chilli peppers, this variety of preserved vegetables is also known as Sichuan preserved vegetables. Preserved vegetables are also conveniently sold in packets in slices or for the more inclined, one can also purchase the vegetables 'loose' which is what I prefer due to the richer flavours of the latter form.


Zha cai can be cooked in many ways - a popular recipe using zha cai (榨菜) is noodles with zha cai and pork slices (榨菜肉絲麵), zha chai also perfectly complements plain white congee. Today I decided to simply stir-fry this flavourful vegetable with pork slices. I like to add a pinch of sugar to bring out the soury and spicy flavours in the zha cai.



1 knot of zha cai (soaked in water for about 15 minutes)
2 cloves garlic, minced
8 inches worth of pork (I used fatty pork for more flavour)
Pinch of sugar
Splash of light soy sauce



After soaking the zha cai, be sure to squeeze out the excess water - you can also do a taste test to see if the zha cai is still too salty before slicing, if so you can continue soaking it for a bit more. However, do not soak for too long to avoid blandness.

Saute the garlic in about 1 tablespoon of heated cooking oil until fragrant. Turn down the heat and add a tiny splash of soy sauce into the mix (the addition of soy sauce at this stage adds a lovely fragrance). Next, add in the sliced pork and stir-fry until almost cooked. Finally add the sliced up zha cai and add a pinch or two of sugar. You may also add a tablespoon or two of water at this stage. Stir-fry till pork is entirely cooked.

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lilyng said...

nice to know that you are cooking again and posting.

hope to see more recipes from you

mysimplefood said...

I love this vege. Infact I love the soup version. It leaves a tingling feeling that I love. Though I never know how long to soak it cos sometimes it is too salty..

Jen said...

lily - thanks!

mysimplefood - if you buy the 'loose' ones, I think around 30 minutes will be fine but you can always do a taste test since the vege is already cooked through all the fermentation...hope that helps!

PlumLeaf 李葉 said...

Mmmmm! I do like preserved mustard green or zha cai (榨菜)! I do worry about eating too many funny preservatives as I'm not sure if it can be that good for us. Hence I occasionally buy this in the ready to eat pouches (great for 2 people) and I give the contents a quick rinse first!
I cooked this last week with green beans and pork shreds! Yum!

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