Sunday, June 5, 2011

Pickled Asian Greens - Xue Li Hon 雪裡紅

Some readers ask what I do with all the Asian greens I harvested and how to preserve them.  There are numbers of ways to preserve the greens depending on intended use, sometimes I preserve them by salting or pickling, sometimes lacto-ferment as in kraut or kimchi, sometimes the greens are blanched and sundry etc. etc.

Reader Ikea wants to know how to make xue li hon (雪裡紅).  Traditionally xue li hon is made from mustard greens, but there's no restriction that says one cannot use any other greens to make the pickle.  We gardeners sometimes have so many mustard and brassica greens in the refrigerator and couldn't possibly consume all of them before they are spoiled, why not put up some of the excess produce for later use, pickling would be an easy way to preserve them, here's what I have in the refrigerator:

Misome and Mibuna

Turnip Greens and Mibuna

In a large bowl sprinkle salt over greens and rub in gently.

The greens look like this after salting, put them into a clean jar and keep refrigerated until use.

Or the whole plant can be pickled and refrigerate for later use.
(Pickled greens can be stored at room temperature, but it's more involved, let's not go there now.)

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There are number of ways to use pickled greens, my favorite is to stir fry the pickled vegetable with thinly sliced pork, baked tofu, bamboo shoots, and chili pepper.  Here's how to prepare the dish:

First - soak pickled greens in water to allow salt to leach out, 
change water couple times and taste for saltiness.

The dish -- baked tofu, bamboo shoot, pickled greens, and chili peppers. 
I skipped the meat and substitute baked tofu because I didn't want to mess with it.
(Traditionally the dish is made with -- pickled greens, pork, and bamboo shoots.)

Baked tofu -- very dense (semi hard cheese density), 
it can be julienne to toothpick size without falling apart.

Stir fry each vegetable separately and then toss them together, (do not add salt, it's already salty),
finish off with a dash of sesame oil before plating.  Add marinaded pork if you like 
but make sure the meat is cooked before mixing in with all other vegetables.
This is a salty dish, best serve with noodle soup or rice.


  1. Very interesting! How long do you let the veggies stand before putting them in the fridge? How long do they last?

  2. Nartaya,
    You can put the veggies in the fridge right-a-way. They last about 10 days to 2 weeks unless you salt pack them for long term storage, that's another method if you're preserving a large amount greens.

  3. Thanks for sharing this! You should teach a cooking class. I love the recipes and food pics that you post. Reminds me that I still have quite a bit to learn about Chinese cooking in general.

  4. Mac, thanks for the recipe. It is so much simpler than I imagined it would be. Have to try making it and report back.