Delicious Vietnam # 19
In my last trip to our home in Hanoi, I saw that my parents had been in the habit of making preserved cabbage (dưa muối) every week. They even invested in a special jar, just for that purpose. I was so tempted to bring that jar to Australia, to make the pickles myself!
Home-made preserved mustard cabbage is special. The readily available commercial ones from Thailand are often too soft and too sweet, I have long abandoned them.
In Northern Vietnam, most women know to prepare this. Starting from fresh mustard cabbages, the whole plants are dried in the sun for several hours or the whole day. The process is said to improve the texture of the pickles later. Fresh mustard cabbages are then washed and preserved in a solution of salt and a bit of sugar. This is a crucial step. A little too much salt, the preserves will be inedible. Too little salt, the cabbage may get spoiled. It is also important that the veggies are immersed in liquid at all times. Hence, we often see a small bowl placing on top of the jar, pressing the veggies underneath. Waiting for a few days later, the green cabbage will “ripe”, turning into a pale green-gold color. The pickles are ready then, with the right amount of crunchiness and sourness.
We eat it raw or use to cook all sorts of dishes, from soup to stir-fry. I have started making this pickle a few weeks back. This week is my second batch. I can see myself making it every week, just like my parents do back home.
I am sending this to Delicious Vietnam #19, hosted by Sandy from ginger and scotch .
My recipe for Vietnamese preserved mustard cabbage (dưa muối)
Here is a rough guide to make dưa muối. The important part of the ratio of salt and sugar to make the pickling liquid. Roughly, for every 6 cups of water, you need 3 tablespoons of salt and 1 tablespoon of sugar.
2 large brunches of mustard cabbages. Leave to dry in the sun for at least half a day. (Yield 1.5 large jars at shown in the top photo)
Prepare 18 cups water, bring to the boil. Add in 9 tablespoons of salt, and 3 tablespoons of sugar. Dissolve, and leave to cool slightly.
In the meantime, wash and cut the mustard cabbages into large pieces. Put them in a large sterilised jar. When the solution has cooled down but is still slightly warm, pour into the jar. Make sure that the veggies are immersed in the solution. Put an empty bowl on top to press down the veggies. Seal the jar, and leave it in a cool, dark place. The pickled should be ready in 4-5 days. Once it is “ripe”, eat straightaway or store in the fridge to slow down the fermentation process.