Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Fresh Mustard Tuber with Pork

Last week I saw a funny looking vegetable at the market. When the seller told me its name I immediately recognized it, although I had never seen it before in its raw form. 
I was looking at a mustard tuber called in Cantonese ja-choi 榨菜 and which is well-known in its pickled and spicy form.

Fresh mustard tuber / Ja-choi / 榨菜

The pickled form is commonly known as Sichuan vegetable or Chinese preserved vegetable.
The condiment is soaked in cold water and rinsed before use to remove the excess salt. Ja-choi is used to salt soups and rice congees and give them an extra flavour. The condiment is found in Sichuan style dishes such as Dan dan noodles ( 擔擔麵 )and Mapo tofu (màh-pòh dauh-fuh 麻婆豆腐, which means “pockmarked - grandmother - bean curd”).
My friend Jane likes to put pickled mustard root in her dumplings to add spiciness and crunchiness.
Pickled mustard root

The seller told me to sauté the mustard root with slices of meat. I asked a few friends how to cook this vegetable but it seems that they had never bought it before and could not give me any tips. Before cooking this “new” vegetable I tried it raw. Its texture is like that of white radish (crunchy) but its flavour slightly more pungent. I think it could be good in salad dressed in a garlicky vinaigrette (but I will try that later….another post to come!)
So I wrote my own recipe based on other Pork w/ Chinese veggie dishes I am familiar with.

Here it is:

Fresh mustard tuber with pork and Chinese mushrooms

  • 4-5 small dried Chinese mushrooms (keep mushroom soaking water)
  • 300g pork (pork ribs, cut in 1cm thick pieces)
  • 1 mustard root (~452g) Ja-hoi, 榨菜
  • 2 slices of ginger, crushed
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

  • 1 tbsp rice wine
  • ½ tsp light soya sauce
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp rice wine
  • 1 tsp soya sauce
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • ¼ black ground pepper
  • 1 cup of mushroom soaking water

Fresh mustard tuber w/ pork and Chinese mushrooms
  1. Wash and peel the mustard root. Cut into small pieces.
  2. Wash and soak the mushrooms. Cut off the stems and discard. Slice mushrooms tops.
  3. Drain the water and keep it to mix with the seasoning ingredients.
  4. Pour marinate over the meat and stir well.
  5. Put in the fridge for 15-30 min.
  6. Drain marinated meat.
  7. In a skillet, heat oil and sauté garlic and ginger until fragrant.
  8. Add meat; brown it well on all sides and cook until tender.
  9. Add mushrooms, mustard tuber and seasoning. Mix well.
  10. Lower heat and simmer until mustard root is tender.
  11. Garnish with spring onion.
Cooked, the mustard root loses its pungency. The taste and texture of mustard tuber is similar to those of kohlrabi (see photo on the Vegetables Page).

This is a dish that I will for sure make again. I hope you will try it too. Let me know.

Bon appétit!