Pao Cai (Preserved Chinese Vegetables)

Most Chinese home chefs make this classic preserved Chinese recipe using vinegar and white sugar. Although the taste may be good, adding vinegar and processed sugar does not promote the formation of healthy probiotics. This recipe uses a natural sweetener, and allow the magic of lacto-fermentation to turn the ingredients into a superfood packed with probiotics, AND it's yummy too!

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz (340 g) bok choy, chopped
  • 6 oz (170 g) daikon radish, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons (22.5 ml) sea salt
  • 2 stalks scallions, chopped
  • 3 - 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 - 4 dried red chiles
  • 2 star-anise
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) palm sugar or Sucanat

1. Place the cut bok choy and daikon in a large glass, stainless steel, or ceramic bowl. Add the salt and massage for about 5 minutes to help release moisture from the vegetables. Allow the massaged vegetables to rest for about 30 - 45 minutes.
3. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix well.
4. Pack the mixture into a quart-size, wide-mouth mason jar until it reaches the shoulder. If there isn't enough liquid to cover the mixture by one inch (2.5 cm), pour in some brine*.
5. Place Kraut Source onto the jar. Allow to ferment for 7 - 10 days in a cool spot, away from direct sunlight.
6. When the vegetables have achieved a taste to your liking, remove Kraut Source and replace with the standard mason lid and ring. Transfer to the refrigerator.

*Brine ratio = 1 teaspoon (5 ml) sea salt dissolved in 1 cup (240 ml) filtered water