Ya cai is one of the hardest to find ingredients in Sichuan cooking. It is a key ingredient in Sichuanese dan dan noodles and dry fried green beans. This ya cai is lightly fermented preserved mustard green leaves. It is already finely minced and sweetened with brown sugar. We love sumi ya cai stir-fried along with vegetables and meat, or in a hot Chinese broth.
Confusingly ya cai is also known as sichuan preserved vegetable. Yet canned sichuan preserved vegetable is the knobbly root of the mustard green plant. The roots are much firmer and saltier, great finely minced and served over tofu.
This brand of ya cai or sumiyacai is recommended in books by Fuchsia Dunlop and Macau recipe book The Adventures of Fat Rice.
Ingredients: Mustard 89%, salt, brown sugar, spices, preservative E202, sweetener E950.
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