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Spicy Sour Mustard Greens (Chai Buey 菜尾)

by Angie Liew
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Spicy Sour Mustard Greens Recipe (Chai Buey)

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.

Spicy Sour Mustard Greens (Chai Buey 菜尾)

Spicy Sour Mustard Greens (Chai Buey 菜尾)

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 Recipe Ingredients (Chai Buey)

Spicy Sour Mustard Greens

Recipe by Huang Kitchen, Angie Liew
Spicy sour mustard greens otherwise known as chai boey is a sour vegetable stew. This is a hearty dish with intense flavour and spicy and sour undertone. It's sour because of the tamarind skins and spicy as dried chilies are also added in the stew. This recipe is also the best way to use up leftover meat in your refrigerator. It has all the exotic tastes to accommodate every taste bud. So Enjoy!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 10 minutes

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Servings: 6 people


  • 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


    • Spicy Sour Mustard Greens - ingredients
      Have ready all ingredients.
    • Spicy Sour Mustard Greens - cut vegetables
      First, rinse well the fresh mustard green vegetables and then cut into large pieces, about 2 inches piece.
    • Spicy Sour Mustard Greens - blanch vegetables
      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.
    • Spicy Sour Mustard Greens - torch ginger buds
      For the torch ginger flower (bunga kantan), use only the buds and not the stalk. Gently remove the petals of the torch ginger buds.
    • Spicy Sour Mustard Greens - soak deseed dried chillies
      Soaked and deseed dried chillies before use.
    • Spicy Sour Mustard Greens - wash tamarind
      Briefly wash the tamarind slices.
    • Spicy Sour Mustard Greens - tomato wedges
      Cut tomatoes into wedges.
    • Spicy Sour Mustard Greens - lemongrass
      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.
    • Spicy Sour Mustard Greens - meat bones in pot
      First, put the meat and bones into a large stock pot.
    • Spicy Sour Mustard Greens - add dried chilli lemongrass
      Add in the dried chillies and crushed lemongrass.
    • Spicy Sour Mustard Greens - add water
      Then pour in water.
    • Spicy Sour Mustard Greens- simmer
      Bring the stock to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes.
    • Spicy Sour Mustard Greens - add ingredients
      Then add in the cut tomatoes, vietnamese coriander leaves, torch ginger flower buds and crushed white peppercorns.
    • Spicy Sour Mustard Greens - add soy sauce
      Next, add in soy sauce.
    • Spicy Sour Mustard Greens - add oyster sauce
      Followed by oyster sauce.
    • Spicy Sour Mustard Greens - add chicken stock
      And chicken stock granules. Stir to mix everything together.
    • Spicy Sour Mustard Greens - add vegetable
      Add in the blanched mustard greens. The vegetables may seem a lot but they will cook down.
    • Spicy Sour Mustard Greens - simmer
      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.
    • Spicy Sour Mustard Greens - enjoy
      This dish is great on its own and even better eaten with steamed rice. As always, ENJOY!


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Do not substitute chinese mustard greens (Gai Choy 芥菜) with other vegetables for this dish as its crucial in this stew. These leafy green vegetables have a peppery taste and can withstand the stewing without breaking down.
Adjust the saltiness and tanginess in the stew according to your personal taste. The finished dish should have a balance of salty, sweet, spicy and sour balance.
Cuisine: Chinese, Malaysian
Keyword: spicy

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