Another dish with fresh mustard cabbage! I made mother promise this is the last one. Seriously we had too much of this vegetable. And I don’t want to bore people who actually read my blog! This soup is a keeper though. Providing that you are a fan of pig’s trotters. However, the limbs can be substituted with roast pork. No need to panic.

The dish is heavily flavored by the usual sour agent, tamarind slices, shallots, lemongrass, garlic, chilies and tomatoes. They work together like a choir that brings all the flavor together. The mustard cabbage is happy with his new spices friends. The one thing I love the most is probably the shallots. They are used whole and when cooked, they look like little pearls! Pearls that can make your breath smells funky, of course!

Did you see the pearly shallots and the thick pigs’ trotters? They might not look pretty in the bowl, but that bowl of soup can make me eat a big bucket of steamed rice. Oops. That doesn’t sound very lady-like. Don’t forget some sambal belacan (shrimp paste chili) for dipping.

Store-bought Chinese-style roast pig’s trotters. Or just good o’ roast pork, if you don’t feel like having toes in your soup. (I did not just say that!)

A couple of slices of tamarind. This can be bought in Asian groceries

A bunch of mustard cabbage (or “Kua chai” or “Gay choy”)

Red chilies and lemongrass. I never throw away the green part of lemongrass. I use everything. Green part, white part. Bruise slightly with a pestle if you wish.

Cloves of garlic and shallots.


Boil some water in a big stock pot.

Add garlic, shallot, tomatoes, tamarind, chilies and lemongrass into the boiling water.

And roast pork. Really sorry about the blurry action, by the way.

Let simmer over medium heat.

For quite some time.

Toss in cabbage.

Stir everything well and season with salt and sugar. Cover and simmer some more over low heat.

When everything looks slightly over-cooked, it is done.

Serve with steamed rice and sambal belacan (recipe here). We call this soup “Kua chai theng” in Hokkien dialect.


Chinese Roast Pork and Mustard Cabbage Soup

Makes 6-8 servings


2 ltrs water
2 slices / 20 g dried tamarind
7 / 30 g red chilies
6 / 60 g shallots
4 / 20 g garlic cloves
1 tomato, quartered
500 g roast pork, or roast pig's trotters, cut into medium size pieces
600 g Chinese mustard cabbage, kua chai / gay choy
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar (optional)


Boil water in a stockpot.
Add tamarind, chilies, shallots, garlic and tomatoes into boiling water and lower heat to medium.
Add roast pork into the pot. Cook for 5 minutes.
Combine the greens into the soup and season with salt and sugar.
Cover and simmer for 20 minutes over low heat.
Remove from heat and serve warm with steamed rice.

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9 Responses to “Chinese Roast Pork and Mustard Cabbage Soup”

  1. 1

    Wendy Leow — February 21, 2011 @ 5:43 pm

    Goodness!! I haven’t seen this since I got married!!! LIke! Like!!

  2. 2

    Lia Chen — February 21, 2011 @ 7:54 pm

    Great dish! The soup is very mouthwatering and torturing at the same time LOL :D

  3. 3

    Christine — February 21, 2011 @ 8:11 pm

    If my mom knew how to use the computer and blogged, hers would be like your blog! LOL. Now you make me miss her a lot.

    You use fresh mustard cabbage? We love using pickled mustard

  4. 4

    Claudia — February 22, 2011 @ 7:02 pm

    What an awesome soup! I noticed you put the lemongrass stalks in whole. That makes things easier. I’ll maybe use my guanciale in roasted chunks for this, because it is definitely on my “to do” list.

  5. 5

    Cooking gallery — February 23, 2011 @ 4:16 am

    I love this soup…! I even can get that sour mustard here in Germany (in my local Asian grocery store), unfortunately my husband doesn’t like it, so I cannot really cook it often at home…:(

  6. 6

    Min {Honest Vanilla} — February 23, 2011 @ 8:04 am

    love love love this! i don’t think i’ve ever bought fresh mustard cabbage, usually i’d look for the salted ones. nice sequence of the soup changing colour :)

    • Jun replied: — March 8th, 2011 @ 8:45 am

      I think the fresh cabbage can be substituted with salted ones, but you might need to omit the tamarind slices – it would be super salty!

  7. 7

    Peng — April 15, 2012 @ 5:31 pm

    Absolutely delicious, one of my all time favorites! Gorgeous pics! Makes my mouth water, I think I will have to make some.

  8. 8

    fucking asshole — July 27, 2014 @ 2:07 am

    Eyakksss what a shit taste soup…i hate taste like smelly pig!!!same like u guysss….

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