Spicy sour mustard greens (酸辣菜尾) is a very popular Malaysian-style Chinese dish especially when you have plenty of leftover meat but have no idea what to do with them. Also known as Chai Buey (菜尾) which literally means ‘leftovers”, this humble spicy and sour stew is so comforting and incredibly easy to prepare. It is a very forgiving dish and there is no hard and fast rules to cooking this flavourful dish as you can use practically any leftover meat available.
All the leftovers (meat and other food) and mustard greens / Gai Choy (芥菜) are stewed together with some fresh tomatoes, tamarind slices and dried chilies. These tamarind slices and dried chilies served to enhance the sour and spicy flavour that is signature to this dish and make the stew extra tangy and spicy. The addition of ginger torch flower (bunga kantan), lemongrass (serai) and vietnamese coriander (daun kesum) give this stew such a special aroma. To sum up, this spicy sour mustard greens dish has all the exotic tastes to accommodate every taste bud. So enjoy!
Spicy Sour Mustard Greens
- 1 kg mustard greens, or more, rinsed and cut into sections
- 500 grams meat, roasted meat & bones, or any amount, cut into chunks
- 5 dried chillies
- 5 tamarind slices, or more if your prefer it more sour
- 1 tbsp white peppercorns, crushed
- 1 bunga kantan, torch ginger flower
- 1 bunch vietnamese coriander, daun kesum
- 3 lemongrass, bruised
- 8 cups water
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp Oyster Sauce
- 1 tsp chicken stock granules, optional
- Have ready all ingredients.
- First, rinse well the fresh mustard green vegetables and then cut into large pieces, about 2 inches piece.
- Add the cut mustard greens in a pot or wok of boiling salted water. You may need to push them down in the wok to make room. Briefly blanch for about 3 minutes. Drained and set aside.
- Crushed some fresh white peppercorn in a mortar. This will help to better release the flavour.
- For the torch ginger flower (bunga kantan), use only the buds and not the stalk. Gently remove the petals of the torch ginger buds.
- Soaked and deseed dried chillies before use.
- Briefly wash the tamarind slices.
- Cut tomatoes into wedges.
- Bruise the upper bulb of lemongrass by smashing it with the side of a wide knife. This will help release some of the aromatic oils. And we're ready to cook the dish.
- First, put the meat and bones into a large stock pot.
- Add in the dried chillies and crushed lemongrass.
- Then pour in water.
- Bring the stock to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes.
- Then add in the cut tomatoes, vietnamese coriander leaves, torch ginger flower buds and crushed white peppercorns.
- Next, add in soy sauce.
- Followed by oyster sauce.
- And chicken stock granules. Stir to mix everything together.
- Add in the blanched mustard greens. The vegetables may seem a lot but they will cook down.
- Over low heat, allow to simmer for another 30 minutes, until the meats and bones have released their flavours and the mustard greens are very tender (more yellow in colour). And we're done!
- Taste to see if it's spicy, sour and salty enough. If it lacks any of these flavours, add more chillies, tamarind slices or soy sauce accordingly.
- This dish is great on its own and even better eaten with steamed rice. As always, ENJOY!