Thursday, October 18, 2007

Making Salted Chinese Mustard Greens

I don't know if this pickled veg is available in other parts of Malaysia, but humchoy (xiencai in Mandarin), like the sayur manis, is something I'll miss if I'm away from Sabah. In fact I have something embarassing to tell.

You know how you cringe at tales of overseas students frying blacan kangkong in their apartments, causing other students to call the exterminators/CSI team? I've even heard of (HK) students cooking rice and chinese sausages in the library!! (This was somewhere in Canada where it's so cold the buildings are connected by huge underground tunnels with libraries/reading rooms.) Ok, that was during my time when the only decent Chinatowns were in Toronto and Vancouver causing homesick students to do unthinkable things (these days our kids have it so good they can eat out anytime, any cuisine). One time, I so wanted to eat humchoy I actually tried making my own (I've seen my mom make it before). To shorten the story, I got a call from the apartment management warning me to please take those veg off my balcony. I can't remember what I did with the veg after that; I was so embarassed (I still can't believe I did that! My apartment faced a large vacant field...) And indignant. How come that girl in the corner apartment could sunbathe topless and nobody complained?? Yes, a topless woman looks better than a row of wilting veg and I confess I did peek at her now and then too, you know, to check out the competition. Remember that, Cheeyan? I wonder if she's still, um, never mind.

Ooops! How do you make humchoy?

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1. Get some thick-stemmed organic Chinese mustard greens. Wash the veg well to remove all dirt, snails etc. Hang them up to dry for 2 days.

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2. Put wilted mustard greens into a dry, clean bowl and add 1 T salt for every bunch, rubbing some salt into the inner leaves and stems.

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3. When you cook your rice, pour the first cloudy wash water into the greens. If rice water is very dirty, use the second washing. Bear in mind that if water is not very cloudy, the mustard greens will not pickle so well. Throw in another 1 T salt. You may add some sugar but I find that unnecessary.

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4. There should be enough water to cover the veg. It's best to put the veg into a clean, dry glass bottle with a tight lid but I didn't have one large enough so I used a glass bowl. Cover tightly (if using a bowl, put a ceramic plate directly on top of the veg and weigh that down with a heavy weight) and leave at room temperature.

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5. After a week, check the inner stems to see if they are still green. If so, leave them for a couple more days. If they are ready, you can put them in the fridge where they'll last longer.

Now, can anyone tell me how to make Fuzhou (Foochow) red preserved veg?

16 comments:

mike c said...

is tt why ur nickname is humchoy?
:-) hey my mom made it the same way as you.. w/ cloudy rice water. Love beef + home made humchoy soup.

Terri @ hungerhunger said...

my nickname is humchoy??u're so mean!so not funny!

Hong Yi said...

HAHAHAHA!!!

U never told me abt the lady who sunbathed. Tell us...or tell me if it isn't appropriate to talk abt in a public forum! :P

Good post Mama!

mike c said...

Ooops

Terri @ hungerhunger said...

yi:thnx
mike: no prob. next DIY post: hum something (don't guess)

Greg Wee said...

NEE: fabulour post! because it is good to know that we are not putting anything in the salted vegies. like the china ones...got so much warning from my in laws about possible chemicals.

Terri @ hungerhunger said...

nee: it's not just the chemicals. i usually get my humchoy fm this lady (in Foh San) n the other day her worker took out a big plastic pail of the stuff. tt's when i decided i'm going to make my own. all tt acid in plastic pails! no wonder ppl r getting sick. plus they use leftover veg tt can't sell.n i don't think they bother to wash...do u know how to make foochow preserved veg, u know for the coarse mifun tt i like?

Hong Yi said...

speaking of overseas students cooking in the library, there are notices stuck on my architecture library wall that says "No food or drinks in the library" in Chinese characters. hehe.

Terri @ hungerhunger said...

tt's really insulting, esp to China students.tt'll never happen in Canada - the canadian-chinese will make sure of tt!

Greg Wee said...

NEE: HI, you are so rite about the danger of these perserved vegies bought outside. the Chow chai which is foochow one is reddish in colour. I think they use red rice wine like how you make foochow red wine. I think my Yi Po may know how to do this. will let you know once i find out.

Greg Wee said...

oops sorry not red rice wine, red rice. dont know how to say it in mandarin. Ask aunty linda she knows. cause she made foochow red wine.

Greg Wee said...

oops sorry not red rice wine, red rice. dont know how to say it in mandarin. Ask aunty linda she knows. cause she made foochow red wine.

mike c said...

no meaness intented…and, there’s must be cloud in my ‘mind’ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ … ah Po my hum choy ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪! hum choy liang liang ?

Terri @ A Daily Obsession said...

mike: no cloud, just alzheimer setting in perhaps??

mike c said...

uh oh! note 2 self….must beg doc for ubatantigila

nicole ten said...

Hi
Would you happen to have a recipe that converts the hum choy to the dried version? I think it's also called mui choy.

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