HOT & SOUR MUSTARD GREEN STEW | Choi Keok | Suen Lat Choy Recipe

Hot and Sour Mustard Green Stew, also known as ‘choi keok’ (leftover dish) or ‘suen lat choi’ (sour-spicy vegetable), is supposed to be a poor man’s dish. So not to waste food, leftover meat is cook with mustard green, tamarind, and red chili into a pot of appetising stew.

To me, this stew is a treat more than an afterthought. I so love this dish that I’d buy fresh meat to make it e.g. when I have roast duck at a restaurant, I’d order takeaway. I’ll even put nutritious produce like mushrooms for a more complex flavour. That’s the recipe in my cookbook ‘One Pot Wonders’.


I always think it’s a curious dish. My family typically makes this after a large festival such as Chinese New Year as there is too much food left. This time, we made it because we happen to have a lot of mustard green in our garden and leftover pork belly (that’s the next Youtube video!).

So instead of the variety of meat, we are only using pork belly. The other three ingredients are the peppery mustard green vegetable, sour tamarind slice (asam gelugor), and dried red chili.


  • Pot with lid



Hot & Sour Green Mustard Stew | Suen Lat Choy

8th August 2020
: 15 min
: Easy


  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 8 pieces of tamarind slices (asam keping)
  • 8 pieces of dried red chillies
  • 400 g roasted pork belly
  • 500 g of Chinese mustard green vegetable (kai choy)
  • ~1.5 Litres of water
  • Sugar to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Step 1 PREP: Chop dried red chili into 1 inch long. Rinse vegetables and chop into large chunks.
  • Step 2 FRY PORK BELLLY: Fry pork belly in 2 tablespoon of neutral cooking oil until brown.
  • Step 3 MAKE STOCK: In a pot, put in chunks of pork belly (or any leftover meat), tamarind slices, red chillies, and water. Bring it to a boil and simmer for at least 30 minutes until all the flavours are extracted.
  • Step 4 ADD VEGETABLE TO SIMMER: Put in vegetables, bring it to a boil, and let it simmer until vegetables are soft and stock is flavourful (about 1 – 2 hours)
  • Step 5 SEASON: Season with sugar and salt


Fry 400 g of pork belly in 2 tbsp of oil. In a pot put in: pork belly + 8 tamarind slice + 8 red chillis. Simmer for >30 minutes. Add in 500 g chopped mustard greens. Simmer until vegetable soften and stock is flavourful ( >30 minutes). Season with sugar and salt.


  1. The more variety of meat, the better. It doesn’t have to be pork—the more variety of meat, the better. Go ahead to put both that roast chicken that nobody wants and fatty pork belly to cook together!
  2. Roast duck as a replacement to pork belly. If you can’t eat pork, it’s okay. Other meat tastes just as good. In my One Pot Wonder cookbook, I use roast duck for this recipe, which turned out great.
  3. Don’t deseed the chilies. My family has a habit of removing seeds from the chili. We believe it’s not great for digestion and doesn’t like it to be too spicy. I prefer doing that for aesthetic reasons; I don’t particularly appreciate seeing bits of seeds in my food. But you don’t have to for this dish because the goal is to make this dish spicy.
  4. You may need to add more water or boil longer. Depending on how long you boil this stock, you will need to adjust the amount of water. The key is tasting the soup. If it’s not flavourful enough, let it boil longer until you get a more concentrated stock. If it’s evaporating too fast, add more water.
  5. Salt and sugar to taste. I usually like to quantify sugar and salt in my recipe. But as we may be using different kinds of leftover meat which saltiness will vary, this time it will be ‘to taste.’ But for our recipe, we put about 1 tablespoon of sugar and about 1 tsp of salt. Some people even put tomato sauce inside!

Melt-in-the mouth meat; soft and peppery vegetables; and broth with a beautiful combination of savoury, spicy, and sour is a joy to eat.My Mom is right, this dish is so appetising that one bowl is not enough.

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