Red in Snow – Stir-Fired Mizuna (雪裡紅)

No, I’m not colour blind… That’s what this dish is called.

This name doesn’t just refer to mizuna. Basically any pickled green vegetables in the mustard family can be called “red in snow.” The word “red” in Chinese doesn’t literally mean the colour here. Red symbolises spring and livelihood. And because many types of mustard green can still thrive in cold winter with snows, this name was given to it.

A mizuna plant from my garden.

Mizuna is a great vegetable to grow in the garden. They seem to thrive in neglect in all weather. They are great to have in salads when young and tender. But what I find most valuable is, after well established, they provide a stable supply for stir fries in winter too.

Because older mizuna leaves are stringy and bitter served as is, they should be lightly picked with salt. This also gives the stalks a crunchiness. Pickling only takes 5 minutes, then you can cook it or keep it in the fridge or freezer until you need it. Other mustard greens with thickish stalks can be prepared the same way too.

To prepare them, follow the instructions with the pictures.

Wash mizuna in the sink and drain. This sink is contained roughly 600g of mizuna leaves from my garden.

Sprinkle salt straight onto the leaves, roughly a tablespoon for every 600g of leaves. Use your palm to rub and lightly bruise the leaves and leave for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, the leaves and stalks would soften. Rinse them under water and squeeze any liquid out of them. This gets rid of excess bitterness. At this stage, you can keep it in the fridge or freezer until later.

It is common to have these stir fried with chilli and minced pork or dried tofu. However I decided to be a little unconventional and stir fired them with with slivered almonds and sesame seeds (top photo). Because the pickled mizuna has a crunch to them, the combination with almonds and sesame provides a real party in the mouth!

Here are the ingredients I used:

  • Finely chopped pickled mizuna (you can also use other mustard greens)
  • A handful of toasted slivered almonds + a tablespoon of toasted sesame (or use similar amount of chopped dried tofu)
  • 2 finely chopped shallot
  • A tablespoon of finely chopped ginger
  • 3 dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked until soft then finely sliced
  • A tablespoon of raw sugar
  • A splash of soy sauce
  • Salt to taste

Here’s what I did:

  1. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and add the shallots once hot.
  2. When the shallots are fragrant and lightly translucent, add mushrooms and ginger. Fry until the aroma of the mushrooms and ginger are driven out.
  3. Add the nuts and lightly toast.
  4. Add raw sugar to the pan and let it melt.
  5. Add chopped vegetables and stir. Let them fry for 3-5 minutes until cooked.
  6. Add a splash of soy sauce then taste. Add more salt if you like it more salty.

Enjoy over a bowl of steaming rice!

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4 thoughts on “Red in Snow – Stir-Fired Mizuna (雪裡紅)

  1. Mizuna, a “green” that’s a “red”… who knew! LOL
    I bet that’s tripped up many a person going to live in China and places where this veggie is grown and eaten.

    LOVE the step by step photos for the salting, and to see that the more wilted state is normal (I would have been having a slight panic at that stage if I had tried this for the first time and not known LOL).

    Also another veggie to add to my “must try” list. 🙂

    • Hi there 🙂 In fact many native Chinese speakers puzzle over the name also. Good thing my mom teaches literature.
      It is a pretty unusual dish indeed. I hope you’ll like it when you get a chance to try. It stays crunchy ever after cooking. Actually you can try doing this to cabbage and see if you like it. The taste will be different but the texture will be similar. Skip the sugar if you use cabbage. 🙂

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