Welcome to our mouthwatering recipe for pickled mustard greens stir-fried with greaves. In this delectable dish, the tangy flavors of pickled mustard greens perfectly complement the crispy and savory greaves. With our easy-to-follow recipe, you’ll be able to whip up this flavorful creation in no time. Get ready to embark on a culinary adventure as we guide you through the steps of preparing this delightful dish. Let’s dive in and discover the irresistible flavors of pickled mustard greens stir-fried with greaves!
My Story about greaves
When my son asked curiously, “Oh wow, can pork fat be used for stir-frying, Dad?!” I realized it was time to tell him about the “scam of the century” – cooking oil made from pork fat, hehe.
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During the rationing period, when eating cassava alone couldn’t satisfy our hunger, dreaming about various dishes was out of the question. Pork fat deserved to be awarded the title of “National Nutrient” for providing protein and essential fats to Vietnamese families (because there was nothing else to eat, hehe). A housewife always needed to have a stash of fat to feel secure. Each person could only buy a few ounces of meat per month, and they would try to choose pieces with more fat, carefully removing any fat attached to the meat and putting it in a pot to render the fat. The melted fat would be strained and stored in jars for later use. Every time a dish was cooked, one would carefully dip the ends of chopsticks about 3cm into the rendered fat and then rub the thin layer of fat on the chopstick onto the hot pan. That was considered enough for cooking a meal. If there were one or two pieces of greaves left in the pan when frying rice, that would be the target for children to fight over, without needing to involve any valuable assets or real estate, unlike nowadays, hehe…
In the 90s, the economic restructuring brought delicious food and better living conditions to society, instead of just dreaming about having enough food and warm clothing. Fish and meat became regular items on the dining table, not just peanuts and vegetables as before. Instead of a dull and gray society, people’s complexions became rosy and their bellies protruded, hehe. One day, all the media channels started talking about the dangers of animal fat. Studies and evidence about cholesterol, saturated fats, arterial plaque, cardiovascular diseases, and high blood pressure were constantly presented. Repeatedly reminding people for a long time made them become “self-conscious,” to the point that even a mention of pork fat would make them feel like they were falling ill. At this time, a suitable alternative ingredient was introduced – vegetable oil, which offered the benefits of pork fat without the harmful effects. Naturally, people happily switched to using cooking oil. The poor pork fat didn’t even have a chance to cry out for injustice, hehe.
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Only recently, other studies have been conducted to prove that various diseases have not decreased despite people using cooking oil. In addition, pork fat contains essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that cooking oil lacks, and these substances are vital for children’s development. People have cautiously started using a little bit of pork fat again.
For me and many others, cooking oil cannot bring the delicious flavors that pork fat does. Just try frying some garlic and shallots, and you will experience how intense and fragrant the smell is when using pork fat, rather than sinking in the oiliness of cooking oil. Stir-frying bamboo shoots or pickled mustard greens, for example, with a little bit of pork fat and a few pieces of greaves, will taste better than stir-frying with cooking oil and beef, hehe.
Basic ingredients for making pickled mustard greens stir-fried with greaves:
- One bowl of pickled mustard greens (if buying from a shop outside, you should only buy around 200-300 grams)
- One tomato
- One dried shallot
- One bowl of pork fat
- Several stalks of scallions
- Seasonings: fish sauce, seasoning powder, salt
Instructions for making pickled mustard greens stir-fried with greaves:
- Step 1 (preparing the ingredients): Clean the purchased pork fat by rinsing it thoroughly and draining off excess water. Then, thinly slice the fat into small pieces (it’s recommended to buy fat with more lean meat for a tastier outcome). Rinse the sliced fat again, this time by pouring boiling water over it and letting it cool before draining.
- Rinse the tomato and cut it into wedges. Chop the scallions into small sections, and finely chop the dried shallot. Rinse the pickled mustard greens with boiling water and let them cool, then drain.
- Step 2: Heat the pork fat in a pan and cook until the fat renders and only the crispy greaves remain. Remove the greaves and set them aside in a bowl.
- Step 3: Pour out the excess fat from the pan, leaving about 2 tablespoons. Add the chopped dried shallot to the pan and sauté until fragrant. Then add the tomato and a pinch of salt, stir-frying until the tomato softens.
- Step 4: Once the tomato is cooked and softened, add the pickled mustard greens to the pan. Season with fish sauce, seasoning powder, and a little bit of water. Stir-fry until the pickled mustard greens absorb the flavors and become tender. Finally, add the greaves back to the pan, toss everything together, and turn off the heat. Transfer the dish to a plate and enjoy.
Pickled mustard greens stir-fried with greaves is especially delicious when served with hot steamed rice, particularly on cold days. Wishing you success in preparing this dish!