Dưa Chua recipe – Vietnamese Pickled Mustard Greens

One of the most common items my mom had within the kitchen were Dua Chua (Dua cai chua) which is a pickled mustard greens. It was usually served as a dish to accompany dinners during the week. These greens are a great counterbalance to salty dishes like the thit kho. Northern Vietnamese more commonly eat this dish with thit dong.

I remember being served a platter of these at dinner often when I was a kid and it was long before I could muster enough courage Đồ Chua. The pickles aren’t as strong and come in a variety of textures and crunch , making them enjoyable to take in. My family members only enjoy the leaves, while others prefer the more crunch branches. Therefore, based on who visited most often during the week the huge Đồ Chua jar could be a bit skewed similar to a cereal bowl that has been smashed by marshmallows.

Preparing and selecting the veggies

Do chua is to use it for leaves or stems, you can begin with a gai choi. 1.5 to 2lbs. heads is a decent amount for me. The younger (smaller) heads aren’t quite as scrumptious. The older (larger) ones are more stem-like than leaves.

Cut the leaves in pieces and scrub the dirt away with running water. Shake off the excess water, then lay them out on tray to dry. The final product is a bit more crunchier and slightly chewy. Find a balance between drying time you enjoy. The drying process can also help to make your Dua Chua last longer because we strip water from the leaves , and replace it in the process of picking with more salty water.

Drying the leaves

They are able to be kept over night in the kitchen for additional drying time. The process can be speeded up with sun drying.

After a few days of drying cut the mustard greens and yellow onions to whatever size you prefer. I like to leave the mustard greens whole when pickled. When you cut the mustard greens into small pieces, the pickling process will be faster

The liquid that is used for pickling

Once the water has been boiled and then cooled it, add everything in the pot. It is possible to transfer the contents to an jar at this point as well. It could be made of plastic or glass, fitted with rubber sealing, or just a screw-on lid. Old kimchi canisters are great for this. I just discovered a few local shops that sometimes offer used (and cleaned) Kim chi jars for less than $1.

Set it in a warm location. It could be near windows, heater vents or even in your oven and with an light on. Be sure to check your Dua Chua every day or every other day to see how sour the drink becomes. It could take anywhere from 1- 4 days based on the temperature of the room. If it becomes sour enough to be your taste, transfer the jar into the refrigerator.

What are the advantages from eating greens with mustard?

Like other dark leafy greens are loaded with vitamins B, fiber as well as antioxidants that offer lots of health advantages. When fermented and bottled they can provide additional benefits of gut-healthy bacteria.

Where did mustard greens come originate?

The plant that produces mustard originated in South Asia, but these times, it can be found on different continents across the globe.

What are the characteristics of Mustard Greens smell like?

Mustard greens are spicy that reminds you of mustard, however they also possess a mild bitterness and a vegetal taste in them, similar to the other dark leafy greens also.

Do you consume the mustard stems greens?

You can certainly consume the mustard stems greens. This recipe lets you can choose the option of eating the stems, leaves, or both.

Dưa Cải Chua Recipe – Vietnamese Pickled Mustard Greens

The gai choi pickled appetizer was that was always in my grandmother's kitchens. Crispy, lightly picked slices of mustard greens and onion slivers made an excellent accompaniment to dishes like braised, salty meats.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine vietnamese
Servings 7 SERVINGS
Calories 143 kcal


  • 2 lb large head of gai choi Asian mustard greens
  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 4 tbsp. salt
  • 16 cups water
  • 2 tbsp. vinegar
  • 10 tbsp. sugar


  • Break the leaves of gai choi and scrub them clean under running water. Dry them on your counters for 10-16 hours, or under the sunlight for 6-8 hours.
  • Cut the onions and leaves into desired sizes, approximately 1 inch pieces.
  • Mix water, salt sugar, vinegar, and water in a pot . Bring close to a boil. Remove the heat and let it sit until the it cools. It should be hot but you are able to get it without burning yourself
  • .Incorporate all the veggies into the pot and make sure everything is completely submerged. You could also put the entire contents to a jar rather than the pot. Place the container at a warmer location (window sill, or in the oven with the oven's lights on) so that it will pickle. Try a bite every day for 24 hours until it is too sour for your liking and then store in the refrigerator.


  • This recipe is perfect for me, however I’d like to explore different variations with my loved ones to eat.
  • For my mom, you need reduced sugar to 2/3 of the recipe above. To date, she has enjoyed it. It’s a bit salty for her so we’ll try the next test with 85% salt.
Keyword dua cai chua, dua chua, dua chua recipe, Pickled Mustard Greens, Vietnamese Pickled Mustard Greens

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