Pickled Mustard Greens Soup – Yam Rice Combo
Pickled mustard greens are ubiquitous in Asian cooking. I find the sour punch very appetizing as it cuts through the meaty rich pork broth. You can easily buy pickled mustard at Asian markets – we just like the flavor of our homemade mustard green best.
My mouth starts watering at the thought of pickles. I have many favorites but Chinese pickles are relatively rare in America. This is my favourite pickle and can be done easily.
We use pickled mustard greens in soups and stir-fries. Many pickles are made with vinegar. The old fashioned brine pickles are what we make at home. This means the greens are fermented.
Pickling is easy. If you make it right, there is no need for food coloring and additives.
What do mustard greens taste like?
Mustard greens are healthy, tasty, and packed with energy-boosting, heart-healthy, disease-fighting nutrients. These greens are a delicious source of calcium, magnesium, folic acid, and vitamin K, important for bone health.
Unlike kale, the greens have distinctly Raw mustard greens have a tasty, peppery bite.
You can mellow it by cooking as it adds a piquant accent to salads, simple stir-fried dishes, and soups!
Raw Mustard Greens
Not one of my favorites but in the West, many enjoy adding raw mustard greens to other mixed greens to provide a peppery, spicy boost of flavor to salads. Some people even enjoy using them in smoothies and green juices.
I just like my pickled greens in everyday stir-fries. They taste really good in noodle soups.
Or you could chop them and use them in a dumpling filling. The best ways to use the pickled greens are in hot Chinese Soups.
- Nyonya Kiam Chye Ark soup (Salted Vegetable Duck Soup)
- Chai Boey (Mustard Greens Stew with fresh mustard greens and pickled mustard greens, roasted pork, and leftover stir-fries)
- Kiam Chye Thng (salted mustard greens soup) or Pickled Mustard Greens Soup (a pickled mustard greens soup with pork)
The most accessible is Kiam Chye Thng (salted mustard greens soup) instead of the more complicated ones involving duck.
What vegetable are these pickled mustard greens?
Pickled mustard greens are known locally in Hokkien and Teochew, as “Kiam Chai”.
This leafy vegetable is pickled in a spiced brine which provides a zesty, pungent, and sour taste.
Most of the pickled mustard greens consist of the entire head of the vegetable and is imported from China.
There are numerous ways to enjoy this pickled vegetable which is served both as a condiment and main ingredient to lift the taste of Chinese dishes.
The pickled vegetables have a strong salty flavor. It is used in soups and stews and goes very nicely with fish.
Steamed fish with pickled mustard greens, is a popular banquet dinner dish that uses this ingredient.
Where to buy this type of pickled mustard greens?
You can find this type of pickle in Chinese and Asian markets. In Penang, you can find this easily in the wet markets where you can find both raw and pickled mustard greens.
The raw mustard greens are with the greengrocers. The pickled mustard greens
What is the taste of pickled mustard greens?
When choosing mustard greens, know that the smaller, more tender leaves of spring will generally be milder in flavor than the mature leaves of summer and fall. If you don’t find the flavor of the raw leaves too harsh, try adding a small amount to a salad for a lively, peppery accent
Interesting Fact: Mustard greens great for weight loss?
Mustard Greens: Mustard greens are rich in fiber that facilitates weight loss. They also make for a good detox food. According to the book, ‘Healing Foods’, “the antioxidant beta-carotene and vitamins C and K help neutralize toxins and remove them from the body, providing effective detox support’.
Are there any Nutrition Benefits to eating Fresh vs Pickled Mustard Greens?
- High Levels of Antioxidants
- Detoxifies Your Liver and Blood
- Helps Lower Cholesterol
- Backed with Phytonutrients
- High in Fiber
- High in Bone-Building Vitamin K
- Good Source of Immune-Boosting Vitamin C
- Provides Skin & Eye Health Protection
How to make pickled mustard greens at home?
Back in the day, my mom and aunts would pickle the mustard greens at home.
To make the pickled mustard greens, combine 2 cups water, the vinegar, salt, and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, and add the chilies. Pack the chopped mustard greens into a 1-quart jar and pour in the brine. When the greens are cool, they are ready to be stored.
How to make Pickled Mustard Greens (Kiam Chye)
- 1 mustard green, ~500g
- 1 tsp sea salt
Solution for pickling
- 100g rock sugar
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 2 cups of water
- Combine your vinegar, water, sugar, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar.
- Let boil for 2 minutes and then remove from heat.
- Pour the hot brine into the pre-seasoned jars of pickles until the liquid has completely covered the vegetables.
- You can add any hot, dried chili or even Sichuan peppercorns.
Let the pickles “cure” in a cool dark place and develop its flavor.
Simple Pickled Mustard Greens Pork Soup
- 1.7 liters water
- 1kg pork ribs
- 4 cloves garlic
- 250g Pickled Mustard Greens (Kiam chye), drained, rinsed, cut into smaller pieces
- 2 tomatoes, cut into quarters
- White peppercorns
- Light soy sauce to taste
You can replace pork ribs with pork belly or if you’re a vegetarian, use Tufo instead of pork or meat.
What is the best combination for pickled mustard greens?
The acidity of this leafy pickled vegetable softens meat like pork and pork ribs to make a complex and appetizing dish.
My favorite is the Kiam Chye Th’ng with pork and innards. The best way to drink this hot flavorsome soup is from a stall that sells Yam Rice.
You can’t order these dishes at most Chinese restaurants.
Where to eat this?
I enjoy this Kiam Chye Th’ng with sliced pork and pork balls with a small portion of the pickled mustard green. My go-to place is the stall at T.Y.Y. in Sungai Ara.
What to order?
Order the standard :
- one bowl of yam rice
- one bowl of pickled mustard green soup with or without organ meat
- one bowl of stewed sweet black vinegar pig knuckle
Pickled Mustard Greens Soup Ingredients
- Pickled mustard green
- Sliced pork
- Pork ribs
With Pig’s Innards
- Organ meat
The soup is made by boiling pork bones and pickled mustard green. They will ask if you take innards when you order.
Pig’s Trotters (Knuckles) in Ginger and Sweetened Vinegar
- meaty chunks of pig trotters
- boney parts
- skin and fatty parts
The pig’s trotters (aka pork knuckles) are moist and tender after the slow cooking in the tasty sweetened black vinegar.
The skin and fatty bits contain the natural collagen of pig’s trotters is very good for our health.
Review of Pickled Mustard Greens Soup
I always have the full set for my cheat day lunch. Most times I will tell myself and the lady boss that I over-order again. Pickled Mustard Greens Soup is not like a hot and sour soup.
If you have the Mustard Greens raw, the greens have a distinctly peppery taste. This is a good substitute for any recipe which needs hearty, bitter leaves.
Pickling with salt and brine makes the Mustard Greens taste is salty with a piquant appetizing accent.
“I can’t eat so much food,” I will protest weakly.
The grandmother will tell me, “Eat slowly and enjoy.”
We both laugh as she knows that I will clean my bowls.
The only thing I didn’t do is to reach for more yam rice.
Where else to find Pickled Mustard Greens Soup in Penang?
- Hon Kei Food Corner, Kampong Malabar, George Town
- Golden Cafe, Relau
- TYY Kopitiam, Sg. Ara
TYY Kopitiam 116B, Jalan Dato Ismail Hashim, Kampung Manggis, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang
Business hours: 6.30am – 11pm