Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Swatow Mustard Cabbage Grouper Stew

Swatow mustard cabbage or daaih-gaai-choi in Cantonese 大芥菜 link (no.1 on my vegetables page) is commonly available at wet markets at this time of the year (although we are approaching the end of the season). I have been cooking it once a week for the past 2 months, either in soup or stew.

Large thick and veiny leaves are curled around the heart of this big vegetable. The taste is quite strong and similar to the head cabbage or cauliflower. You might have also seen it (the whole year round) in its salted form at wet markets. It is called ha`ahm-syun1-choi in Cantonese {鹹酸菜 – lit. means: salted-sour-vegetable}. Ha`ahm-syun1-choi adds a tangy flavour and crunchy texture to stir-fries. Although I have eaten it before I just realised (and I don't know why) that I have never cooked it myself (something new to try soon!)
Ha`ahm-syun1-choi (salted-sour-vegetable)
I like to cook the fresh greens with some garlic, shallots, and Chinese mushrooms (to give additional flavour if no meat is added) over a low fire until the leaves are tender (about 30-45 minutes). You can also add thinly sliced Chinese ham [Jinghua ham or gâm-wàh fó-téui 金華火腿 in Cantonese] at the end of the cooking time.
I also make a quick soup with fresh Swatow cabbage (click here for recipe).  I sometimes add preserved duck gizzard (ngáap-jêun 鸭肫, in Cantonese). Note: I usually put only one as it is quite strong and I sliced it thinly to release the full flavour. 
But the dish I prefer is the one my husband likes to cook for me.  Here is his recipe:
Swatow Mustard Cabbage and Grouper Stew
  • Vegetable oil (for cooking) – I’m currently using rice bran oil
  • ~ 1/2 catty of fresh sliced grouper
  • Swatow mustard (1 large head or 2 small ones) – cut into big chunks
  • Ginger- 2 slices crushed
  • Garlic – 2 cloves crushed
  • 1 red chili (fresh – thinly chopped)
  • Salt and black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 tsp. light soya sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 1Tbsp rice wine
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan; add fish pieces and stir fry over medium heat until flesh turns opaque. Set aside fish.
  2. Add oil in saucepan (if necessary), add garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add Swatow mustard and seasoning; cover pot with lid and cook on medium heat for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Return fish to pot; add chili and water (~ 1/2 rice bowl). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for another 15 minutes or until fish and vegetable are tender.
  5. Serve hot.


Try this! I’m sure you will enjoy it!