Vietnamese preserved mustard cabbage (dưa muối)
Home-made preserved mustard cabbage is special. The readily available commercial ones from Thailand are often too soft and too sweet, I have long abandoned them.
In Northern Vietnam, most women know to prepare this. Starting from fresh mustard cabbages, the whole plants are dried in the sun for several hours or the whole day. The process is said to improve the texture of the pickles later.
Fresh mustard cabbages are then washed and preserved in a solution of salt and a bit of sugar. This is a crucial step. A little too much salt, the preserves will be inedible. Too little salt, the cabbage may get spoiled. It is also important that the veggies are immersed in liquid at all times. Hence, we often see a small bowl placing on top of the jar, pressing the veggies underneath. Waiting for a few days later, the green cabbage will “ripe”, turning into a pale green-gold color. The pickles are ready then, with the right amount of crunchiness and sourness.