Cải Chua or Dưa Chua what's the difference? Nothing besides the name. What's known as Cải Chua in the south is known as Dưa Chua in the north. Cải/Dưa chua should have a crispy texture, slightly sour and salty with a little "bite" from the mustard in taste, and light yellowish green in color. To achieve the crispy texture, some recipes instruct to wilt the greens before adding the brine, while others like me prefer to blanch the greens instead...it's just faster this way. The sugar is added for color and also as food for the natural yeast which makes the greens sour. Since yeast is what makes the greens sour, the brine should not be too salty else it will kill the much needed yeast. However, lack of salt will result in an out of control yeast population which will turn the greens into mold before it has a chance to reach it's full potential.

-approx. 2lbs Chinese mustard greens
-50g salt (about 3 tbs)
-50g đường thẻ (Chinese brown sugar)
-3 tbs vinegar
-1 liter (4 cups/1kg) water

What to Do:
Cut greens into bite size pieces (optional) and blanch. In a pot, boil together salt and sugar until sugar dissolves. Cool brine completely before adding vinegar. In a clean jar add blanched and drained greens and brine. Use something to submerge the greens in the brine completely (they tend to float). The brine should cover the greens by about 1/2", make more brine if needed. Cover and leave allow the greens to mature within a week (speed depends on temp.). You will notice the brine will turn cloudy within a few days and then it will become clear again. The greens are ready to serve once the brine returns to its clear state. The longer you allow the greens to mature the more sour the end product will be. Once the greens are as sour as you like, store them in the fridge to stop it from becoming more sour.

The brine can be used twice. After you finish enjoying your first batch, just blanch more greens and add it to the used brine. You can also add bean sprouts to the brine to make dưa giá (pickled bean sprouts).

Comments (4)

On 10:40 PM , BuddingCook said...

yum i want to make this! :D need to look for the brown sugar tho. :D

On 7:24 PM , Anonymous said...

This is my absolute favorite condiment to eat with rice, period. Does this make me in the minority of VietKieu? I don't know. But this recipe is the absolute must for any single male Vietkieu out there.
Thanks again.

On 8:46 AM , Anonymous said...

How long does it keep for?

On 1:14 AM , hoangtam/tt said...

being pickled, it lasts a while...I'd say at least a few months.