p Picks and Pecks: recipe: chai buey (spicy/sour mustard greens with roast pork)

Saturday, April 13, 2013

recipe: chai buey (spicy/sour mustard greens with roast pork)

Chap chye is really a one-pot meal. It has meat and vegetables all simmered together; its spicy and sour notes make your mouth water.

Usually chap chye is made with leftovers in the kitchen. Some grandmothers end up chucking everything but the kitchen sink into it - some add fish balls, even chicken nuggets!

But if I was to serve it to company, I would keep the dish really clean. You don't want too many flavors muddying your stew, or little bits of meat cloudying your stock. What I've used this time around is leftover roast port - you could buy fresh meat if you wanted, like roast pork shoulder or even roast duck. 

In addition to the roast pork, the other main ingredient is the mustard green. This is a thick, fleshy vegetable, not very leafy and with a bitter stem.

The mustard greens cook down and shrink quite a bit, so I use not just one head of mustard green, but three - almost an entire sink-full!

Before the dish proper is prepared,  I first blanch the pork bones in boiling water to remove most of the salt which is rubbed under the meat before it is put on the spit.

The water will turn murky, and should be thrown out, otherwise the salt and five-spice powder will overwhelm the flavor of the chap chye. 

The seasonings for the chap chye are very basic:

  • assam (you can use either the dried assam slices, or the paste - as shown here)
  • dried and fresh chillis to taste
  • lemongrass

First the pork bones are put into a fresh water and brought to a boil. Then the spices are all added at the same time and the meat is left to simmer for at least 30 minutes or so the flesh becomes tender.

Once the spicy, sour flavours have infused into the stock, the mustard greens are cut into large chunks and added into the soup.

The chap chye is done once the stalks have softened and have lost that bright green hue. Serve with lots of white rice!