Apr 27, 2013

Ground Pork Stir Fry with Chinese Pickled Mustard Greens - 酸菜肉末

Chinese mustard greens (gai choi) can be transformed and used in many different ways. There are fresh mustard greens, pickled, dried, and aged. In addition to that, the root, leaves, and even flowers can all be seen in Chinese cuisine. However, all these different parts and processed results carry totally different names in Chinese, none of them sound anything similar to "mustard green." 

For instances, 菜心 Choi Shin, which literary translate as the hearts of veggies, is in fact the root of mustard green. 酸菜 Suan Choi, which means sour veggies, is the result of fresh mustard greens being sun dried and pickled for weeks. That's why I didn't realize that all these different dishes I grew up with were in fact coming from the same root - Chinese mustard greens.

Usually you can find pickled mustard greens packed in airtight bags in Asian or Japanese markets. However, I always have my doubt on the preservatives used for pickled items in airtight bags. Even back in Asia, the all natural ones are not as easy to come by because they get spoiled in about a week if not stored in the freezer. Well, at least I'm not eating it all the time. Let's just stick with these already made packs before I learn how to pickle the veggies myself.

Ground pork stir fry with Chinese mustard greens -

  • 1 pound of ground pork
  • 1 pack/250 grams of pickled mustard green
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 5 fresh red chilies
  • 1 tablespoon of dried shrimps
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Chinese chili sauce
  • Some soy sauce


Gently rinse the dried shrimps and soak in room temperature water for about 10 minutes. Once done, drain well and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Chop into tiny pieces and add into the pan.

Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves. Chop and discard the chili stems, finely chop the rest. Take out the pickled mustard green and finely chop it.

Add about 3 tablespoons of olive oil into the pan with dried shrimps and turn to medium heat. Cook till the oil starts bubbling then quickly add in chopped garlic, chilies, small pinch of salt, and some freshly ground black pepper. Don't wait for too long before adding in the garlics and other ingredients because the dried shrimps can get crazy after the oil starts to bubble. You know, the usual oil bursting and shrimps flying scene in the kitchen.

Cook just right before the garlic start to burn, add in ground pork, tiny amount of soy sauce just to color the meat, and granulated sugar. You can also add in some Chinese chili sauce if desired.

Give it a quick stir, the pork fat should starts to render, but just keep cooking till all the juice has been reduced. Do not over-season the food yet since the pickled mustard green already contains quite amount of salt. Lastly, add in chopped pickled mustard green, give it a quick stir and cook for couple more minutes.

Now you can taste it and see if any more seasonings are needed. The sugar used in this recipe helps to balance out the acidity from the pickled mustard greens. That way you get a milder sourish flavor instead of an instant pungent kick from it.

This dish is good with steamed rice. You can also mix it with dry noodles along with a few more dashes of soy sauce, black vinegar, and sesame oil.

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  1. I tried making preserved mustard greens at home before. Basically just using salt to "sweat" the greens (some time needed), then remove all the liquid/moisture. So good as ground meat stir-fry. Pair with steamed rice or top over noodles! Yum.

  2. To Tigerfish~
    I wanna try making it myself too! Sounds like a fun thing to do!

  3. I didn't yet take my breakfast for today because I don't have any recipe that I can cook. I think this one is perfect for me. I will now create this one.

    Easy Stir Fry

    1. Thank you so much!! I hope you enjoy the recipe!! (hurry and go eat your breakfast, don't starve!)