Vietnamese pork belly and pickled mustard greens canh/soup
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 1 hour
Total time: 1 hour 20 mins
This two-part recipe contains a sub-recipe for a naturally fermented mustard green pickle. This recipe yields much more pickle than you need. Keep the extras for braised Vietnamese dishes with rice.
Pickled greens (makes waaay more than you need for this canh/soup)
  • Large head of Asian mustard greens (gai choy), thoroughly washed and sliced into 2-inch-wide strips
  • 3 liters of water (3/4 gallons of water)
  • ¼ white vinegar
  • ¼ cup salt
  • ½ cup sugar
The canh/soup
  • 2 cups pickled mustard greens
  • 3 tablespoons light cooking oil
  • ½ lb pork belly or pork spareribs, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 5 red Thai chilis
  • 3 tablespoons Vietnamese fish sauce
  • ⅓ cup of water
  • Salt to taste
Pickled mustard greens
  1. Preheat oven to the lowest setting (that may or may not be the "warming" setting). Spread your greens out on a sheet pan and let it dry out in the oven as you prepare the brine.
  2. The brine: In a soup pot, add water, salt, and sugar. Bring it to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the salt. Let the brine cool until warmish (or to room temperature).
  3. After the water has cool, in a wide-mouthed, lidded, and large container, add your dried greens. Pour the brine over the greens until they are fully submerged. Sometimes, you need to add a small plate in the container to push down the greens into the water.
  4. The pickle will be ready after two to three days at room temperature. Taste a little bit of the greens each day until it's sour enough to your liking. Store the greens in the refrigerator once it's sour enough to discourage additional souring.
  5. Greens can be stored for up to a month!
Putting it all together, canh/soup
  1. Add oil to the bottom of a sauce pot over medium high heat. Add in pork and brown the meat for about five minutes.
  2. Add water and fish sauce to a sauce pot and bring to a boil before lowering heat to a simmer and lid the pot, letting the pork braise for forty minutes to an hour.
  3. After braising, add in the mustard greens and chilis. The greens with leech out a lot of water, creating a meaty, sour soup.
  4. Taste and add salt to taste.
  5. Serve family-style, with lots of jasmine white rice!
  6. Leftover soup will store in the fridge for maybe five days.
Recipe by heo yeah yum at