Oct 9, 2012

Meatballs with Preserved Mustard Cabbage/Mui Choy 梅菜肉丸

Mui choy, the closest English translation I can find is preserved mustard cabbage. To transform a fresh mustard cabbage into fragrant preserved vegetable takes many steps including drying the leaves under the sun, marinating, draining out excessive liquid, and fermenting up to one week.

The best way to prepare mui choy is to cook it with something fatty, usually pork for Chinese dishes. I made some stewed pork with mui choy couple weeks ago and left with some extra mui choy soaking in the sauce. This time around, I'm going to give this veggie a few chops and use for meatball dishes.

Meatballs with preserved mustard cabbage/mui choy -

Ingredients (for about a dozen)?

1.3 lbs of ground pork
7 garlic cloves
2 to 3 ginger slices
2 stalks of scallion
2/3 cup of preserved mustard cabbage (already soaked and drained)
3 tablespoons of ginger oil
1 big pinch of brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups of hot water
1/4 cup of soy sauce


If you're starting out with dried mui choy, just thoroughly rinse the veggie with running water. There might be some sands or tiny dusts in between dried leaves so washing it few more times won't hurt. Soak the mui choy for about 10 minutes and drain out the liquid. To enhance the flavor and soften the texture, cook it under medium heat with some mixture of soy sauce, garlic cloves, scallion, brown sugar, and hot water for 15 minutes. Mui choy is pretty salty so the ratio for soy sauce and water should be around 1:3. Use just enough liquid so that the veggie is fully submerged under. Drain out the liquid after mui choy cools down and set aside for later use.

Remove the stems and finely chop the scallions. Roughly cut out the woody surface from the ginger root and chop into thick slices. Peel the garlic cloves. As for the preserved mustard cabbage, chop into smaller pieces so that it'll blend well for a meatball dish.

Transfer the ground pork, chopped scallions, chopped mui choy, and add about 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper into a big container. Mix well and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Form the mixture into medium sized pork balls. I actually throw the pork ball in between my palms to help driving out some air inside the mixture. That way all the ingredients can bind together nicely, at least that's what my mom told me, and that's what my grandma told my mom many years ago.

Pour in some ginger oil in a deep frying pan and turn to medium high heat. Ginger oil is very easy to make. Just heat up some oil along with some ginger slices, cook till the fragrance comes out and the edges of the ginger starts to burned a little bit. Discard the ginger and store the oil as usual.

Add the peeled garlic cloves and ginger slices into the pan and sear till all sides turn slightly browned. Add in the pork balls one at a time and sear for about one minute before turning them. Thoroughly sear the pork balls. When ready, add in the soy sauce, brown sugar, and hot water. Bring to a boil then turn down the heat to let it simmer for about 20 minutes.

Preferably to serve it over steamed rice. You can also use more stewed juice along with a splash of chili paste and sesame oil, mix it up to make a delicious dry noodle sauce.

What I will do after couple meals though, I'll break up the meatballs into ground pork and spread on top of steamed rice. Arrange some cooked spinach around the pork and top it with either raw egg yolk or sunny side up egg. To make it even fancier? Drizzle some Sichuan peppercorn oil before serving!


  1. I love learning new things and this recipe is so unique :-)

  2. To CJ - Food Stories~
    I'm glad you enjoyed this post! Come visit again soon!