Mustard Greens From China


Mandarin and Cantonese names for Chinese mustard greens, known in both languages as “gai choy,” include “jiè cài” and “gai cài.”

There are numerous sorts, each with a specific function in the kitchen, so it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. Stir-fry some for their soft and nutritious leaves, while others are plucked for their thick stems, which are then pickled and stored for future use

If you’ve ever wondered how to include Chinese mustard greens in your cooking, this post is for you!

Do you know what Chinese mustard greens are?

Brassica juncea, often known as Chinese mustard greens, are a diverse group of nutritious leafy mustards that come in various shapes and sizes. Salt, pickling, and other preservation methods are common in Chinese cuisine; however, certain more delicate kinds can be eaten fresh.

While gai choy and its pickled version (haam choy) are familiar to many Cantonese children, Chinese mustard greens come in various flavors and preparations. There are many types of mustard, such as the leaf mustard, mustard cabbage, vegetable mustard, and Indian mustard. Indian cuisine utilizes this vegetable extensively.)

Another name for leafy mustard greens is xu li hóng (), which means “red in the snow” in Chinese. The Chinese believe that the color red symbolizes vigor (as well as luck, joy, and celebration). Winter crops like mustard greens, which belong to the Brassica genus, got their name because of their ability to survive cold temperatures.


Chinese mustard greens have a strong peppery flavor and a strong bitterness. To counteract the bitterness, you can pre-blanch them and boil them with ginger and a little sugar.

Arugula and radicchio are two examples of bitter vegetables that become more palatable with time, like bitter melon and broccoli rabe. When did you first despise specific vegetables as a child and then, as an adult, come to appreciate them?

The best way to enjoy bitter veggies is to learn how to cook them correctly. Garlic, ginger, and dried chilis can be used as aromatics to get you started. To lessen the bitterness of these healthful Chinese leafy greens, you can season them with a little salt and sugar.

Is eating mustard greens good for you?

Mustard greens are a great source of vitamins and minerals. Like cabbage, cauliflower, and other cruciferous family members, these vegetables are packed with nutrients like vitamins and minerals as well as anti-inflammatory phytonutrients that can help alleviate the symptoms of a variety of illnesses.

Bitter vegetables such as mustard greens have been regarded as particularly nutritious.

We’d regularly hear a Chinese proverb from our parents and grandparents. Generally, “if it’s bitter, it’s good for you.” When we asked about the health benefits, they said they were high in fiber and vitamins. Do your research, as we aren’t nutritionists or dieticians.

Purchasing and Keeping

Nowadays, you can purchase Chinese mustard greens in most main Chinese markets; however, the supply is not always consistent. Dai gai choy can be found in various sizes, from the stubbier head mustard variant to the larger version.

Finding leaf mustard () at well-stocked Chinese markets is no longer uncommon. Avoid any leaves that are withered or dried; instead, choose those that are brilliant green and just emerged from the ground.

Look for Chinese mustard, gai choy, kai choy, or jie cai on labels in English. Other spellings are possible. The Chinese characters can also be used as a search cue. Showing the business personnel a snapshot from this article may also help you locate them.

Pick young, smaller plants when picking mustard greens. They tend to be milder in flavor than the larger, more mature varieties.

In the crisper drawer of your refrigerator, keep these greens in the plastic bags they came in (or reusable produce bags). Avoid storing them in the coldest part of the fridge. The delicate leaves are at risk of freezing. To prevent bruising, allow them some room and don’t pile anything else on top of them.

Compared to leafy kinds, stemmed varieties keep their freshness for 5-6 days longer (3-4 days). If they were fresh when you got them, of course, this would affect how long they last!

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