I have been enamored of the Northern Thai dish Khao Soi Gai for some time now and thanks to this recipe have discovered that with a little work, it’s not too difficult to make your own version of this rich, coconutty, impeccably spiced noodle dish at home.
It starts with a curry paste from scratch. This takes a little effort, but is made 10 times easier if you cheat and use a food processor (not a mortar and pestle). I wholeheartedly recommend making at least a double or triple batch and freezing. This stuff is delicious and versatile and since it’s a tad time consuming up front, you’ll be so thankful you made extra. From there, really it’s just a matter of cooking up the paste with coconut milk, some liquid and a few other key ingredients. Where do the mustard greens come in you ask? Well as you see from the recipe, these are a topping (along with sliced shallots and crispy fried noodles) and give the rich broth a nice sour balance. In short, this all comes together to create a decidedly “dank” mix of flavors.
So when I recently wanted to make this for friends I thought I would try making my own pickled mustard greens instead of using store-bought. After some searching I realized I had a couple of options: one that would give me results within a day and one that would take a few days of pre-planning. I tried both and here’s what I found.
The first recipe I tried was this one from Ted Allen. Essentially you are making a pickling brine and pouring the hot brine over the greens to sit for a while and voila, you have your pickled greens. I substituted one Serrano pepper instead of the Thai bird chilies and that gave a perfect subtle touch of spice. These were ready to go in a couple of hours once they had cooled.
The second recipe I tried was this one for fermented mustard greens. Key difference here is that these get their tang not from vinegar but through fermentation. I would say it took a good 3 days at room temp for me to get the greens to the level I wanted them. After that, they went into the fridge. The flavor here is a little different – you get that tangy, slightly effervescent effect from the fermentation (not to mention the beneficial bacteria!).
There you have it, pickled mustard greens two ways! Ready and able to top a steamy bowl of Khao Soi Gai, or any other dish that needs a sour, salty note.