Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Vietnamese Pickled Mustard Greens, My Version

I'm a person who loves pickles in any shape or form. In this version of Vietnamese Do Choa, I have used just the stems of the Mustard Greens (Gai Choy). The leaves are quite bitter, and though may be used in soups,I tend to puree them in a food processor with a little water to make a paste. This paste I use in my garden as fertilizer, burying lumps of it beside my plants. It adds organic vegetable matter to the soil and also nitrogen. To make the pickle, you have to trim off all the leaves, and use only the stems, including the part where it fans out to the leaf.
Giant Mustard Greens or Gai Choy

3 bunches of Gai Choy (These have to be fresh, and relatively blemish free)
1 cup Pickling salt
2 1/2 cups of water
1 cup vinegar
2 cups water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/8 tsp pickle Crisp
2 red or yellow Habanero Chili Peppers, cut in thick slices with seeds
1. Trim the leaves off the Gai Choy stems. Wash the stems very carefully making sure that all the dirt is removed. Cut the stems into 1 inch pieces
2. Mix the 2 1/2 cups of water with the pickling salt and heat on stove top until salt is completely dissolved. Let this cool to room temperature
3. Put the cut Gai Choy stems and the slices of Habanero chili  in the salt solution and let this stand at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight.
4. The next day, mix the vinegar, Pickle Crisp, 2 cups of water and one cup of sugar in a saucepan.  DO NOT BOIL. Heat slowly until sugar is just dissolved. Let this cool to room temperature.
5. Boil 4 cups of water in a saucepan. Drain the cut Gai Choy stems and sliced Habanero Chilis through a colander and pour the boiling water over them. Immediately rinse with cold water about 2-3 times taking care not to bruise the stems. Drain on a paper towel then transfer to a clean glass container. Add the cooled pickling brine and refrigerate. The pickles will be ready when they start to turn a bit yellow. They keep for quite a while in the refrigerator.

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