Chinese Sauerkraut (Suan Cai)

Chinese sauerkraut dates back almost 5,000 years! Traditional varieties are made with Chinese (Napa) cabbage or mustard cabbage (gai choy).

I consider this recipe to be a hybrid of sauerkraut and kimchi, mainly because we chop the cabbage or greens into large pieces rather than shred them.


Chinese Mustard Green Sauerkraut (Suan Cai)
 
Prep time
Fermentation time
 
Yield: 1 quart/liter
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs. (1 kg) Mustard greens (gai choy) or Napa (Chinese) cabbage
  • 6-8 fresh or dried chilies, whole
  • ½ ounce (10-15g) fresh ginger root
  • 3 teaspoons (15 ml) or 10g by weight sea salt
Instructions
  1. Lightly wash the cabbage or greens leaves to remove any dirt or debris.
  2. Sprinkle leaves with salt, lightly massage them and place in a bowl for 30 minutes to an hour, to let the leaves begin to wilt and lose some water.
  3. Chop the cabbage or greens into 2 inch (5cm) pieces.
  4. Mince or slice garlic into matchsticks.
  5. For a hotter dish, chop the chillies. For less spicy, leave them whole.
  6. Mix all veggies together and any brine that forms, and pack into a jar.
  7. Add a weight to the mixture. Enough brine to cover the veggies should form on its own over the next day.
  8. Cover with an airlock device, or a clean breathable cloth, then secure with a rubber band, or the lid ring (if using a mason jar).
  9. Stash it in a cool, dark place– a cellar, in a kitchen cabinet, or under the stairs or the kitchen sink. It will ferment fine in a brighter environment, too, but do your best to avoid putting the containers in a sunny spot. In fact, I ferment my sauerkraut in a conspicuous spot, only so that I am reminded to check on it every few days.
  10. During fermentation, the veggies should take on a slight golden color.
Care and Storage
  1. Remove weight and replace lid with regular tight fitting lid.
  2. Store in refrigerator. Lasts in refrigerator several months

 

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