How-To, Recipes

Mom’s Pickled Mustard Greens Recipe_ Dưa Cải Muối của Mẹ

When the Lunar New Year – Tết came in Vietnam, my mother was always busily preparing roasted duck, pork, chickens and many dishes. She never forgot, even though the weather was chilly and sometimes rainy, to take the time to go to the crowded, lively open market, where she would always seem to find the perfect mustard greens just ripe for pickling for Tet Day.

My mother seemed to know how to balance many different tastes and flavors. I think you will love this recipe because it blends so beautifully with the salty Vietnamese dishes like caramelized fish, pork or shrimp.

Today, even though I live very far from my Mom, I would like to share a part of her with you by giving you one of my favorite recipes that she always made for me. Thank you, Mom.


  • 3 big mustard greens
  • 3 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 liters of water
  • 3 bulbs of shallots
  • 4 green onions

Pour water into a pot, add salt and brown sugar and cook till it boils. Turn the heat off then wait till the brine cool down to warm level that you can touch by finger. Pour the brine into a jar with cut mustard greens, shallots and green onions. Cover the lid. Leave 2 days to be served.

Mustard Greens
Mustard Greens and Shallots
Washed and Cut Mustard Greens, Shallots and Green Onions
The Vegetables with Brine in a Jar
mom pickle1
After 2 days
How-To, Recipes

How To Make Vietnamese Vegetarian ‘Fish Sauce’ – Nước Mắm Chay

Fish sauce (nước mắm) is a MUST in many Vietnamese dishes to give that umami flavor, that essence, to the food. Spring rolls without the sweet and sour sauce dipping sauce, nước chấm, is nothing at all. But for Vietnamese vegetarians who do not eat fish, how does one make fish sauce for those dishes? In my years living in Vietnam and having Vietnamese vegetarian friends share their food with me, I found that their food still had that wonderful flavor that is quintessential Vietnamese! But how? I found out that they made a special vegetarian “fish sauce” to complete these dishes and I want to share that “secret” with you:

nuoc mam chay


  • 2 ½ litters of filtered water
  • ½ pineapple, pilled the skin, cut into small pieces.
  • ½ cup of soy sauce
  • ½ cup of sea salt
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 1/3 cup of vegetarian seasoning

thanh phan nau nuoc mam chay2

Put all ingredients in a big pot. Bring to boil on high heat. Then reduce heat to simmer, skim the surface to remove all impurities. Continue to cook with low heat for 90 minutes.

After 90 minutes, turn off the gas, let it cool down to room temperature. Then cover a big clean pot with cheese cloth to filter all the liquid. Pour all the filtered liquid into a large enough glass jar and store in the fridge to make sauces later.

nuoc mam3