I like mustard. Do you like mustard? All my childhood, I never had yellow or grainy mustard before. Maybe I have but I didn’t know it. So the second I started living on my own (with hubs, of course) and had full control of what I could stock in my kitchen, mustard was one of the first few things.
It was, like, explosive! In a very good way. Super tangy, super pungent, super good on everything. I think I’ve dipped fried pork chop in a mix of mayonnaise and grainy mustard before. I’ve used yellow mustard in place of butter. haha… I need a new jar of mustard.
That said, the only type of so-called mustard I’d had when growing up was of the tuber kind. Pickled mustard tuber Sze Chuan style. Not at all like it’s Western namesake. These tubers are pickled in salt and chillies, not unlike kim chi, and produces a smell similar to sauerkraut. I call them “Zha Choy”.
We usually have them in soups where they lend a sweet, salty, sour & spicy flavour all at once. I also love them sliced thinly in stirfries or scattered over noodles. It gives dishes just that perfect kick. Only thing to look out, though, is that they are VERY salty. I’d usually soak 1/2 of the portion I’ll be using and leave the other 1/2 unsoaked.
Usually when I make this, I’d use zha choy from the wet market instead of the packaged kind. Those from the wet market seems fresher and has a more intensed flavour whereas packaged ones are blander and have a weird aftertaste. Sadly, I didn’t have time to run to the market so I had to settle on packaged ones this time. I’ll write a new post on those market ones when I get my hands on some.
So even though this isn’t the kind of mustard many of you are familiar with, do give this soup a go if you ever see some pickled mustard tubers around. You might get hooked.
“But Jesus turned Him about, and when He saw her, He said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.” (Matthew 9:22)
Sze Chuan Mustard Soup (Zha Choy Tong)
1 lbs (450gms) Pork Shoulder Bones, blanched
1 or 2 knobs pickled Mustard Tuber (zha choy), about 200gms
1 Carrot, peeled & cut to wedges
10 Red Dates (Jujubes)
4 slices old Ginger
8 cups water, or until top of your pot
- Start by soaking 1/2 of the zha choy you’ll be using in water for at about 15 minutes while you go about preparing the other ingredients.
- Wash all the zha choy well and slice into thick 1 cm (1/2 inch) slices. Place in the pot with all the other ingredients plus water.
- If boiling on stovetop, let it come to rapid boil and turn down to a simmer for 1.5 hours.
- If using slow cooker, make sure water is boiling hot before adding into the pot. Boil on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours.
- Ladle up and savour on a cold gloomy day.