Today’s recipe, Fried Rice with Pickled Mustard Greens (Takana Chāhan), is a vegetarian fried rice. Unlike the usual fried rice you get at a Chinese restaurant, it has a sour flavour, which comes from the pickled mustard greens.
Takana Chāhan (Takana fried rice) contains only a few ingredients, but the flavour is quite addictive. Perhaps because I like sour flavour in general and it uses minimal amount of oil, I enjoy eating this fried rice so much that when I made it, I could not stop eating it.
As you can see in the recipe card, I used only a couple of ingredients for flavouring. But the fried rice tasted surprisingly good. It is all because of the Japanese pickled mustard greens called ‘takanazuke’ (高菜漬け).
Mustard greens are called ‘takana’ (高菜) in Japanese, so pickled mustard green is ‘takanazuke’ (高菜漬け), which consists of the word ‘takana’ and pickling, i.e., ‘tsuke’ (漬け). The sound of pickling changed from ‘tsuke’ to ‘zuke’ for easier pronunciation.
You can make takanzuke at home and I am intending to post a recipe one day. But most Japanese households buy pickled takanzuke in a pack from supermarkets/grocery stores. Takanazuke in a pack can contain either whole leaves or finely chopped leaves that are ready-to-use.
Takanazuke is marinated in vinegar, sugar, and salt, with some soy-based umami added to it. Just like any other pickles, there are so many variations to the ingredients included in the marinade. But in general, it has a soy-like taste with a slight pungency.
Most takanazuke you can buy at grocery stores have a yellow colour (either turmeric or artificial) added to it. It sometimes contains red chillies to add a spiciness to the flavour.
As mentioned in my post Onigiri, chopped takanazuke is often used as a filling for rice balls.
Takanazuke vs Asian Pickled Mustard Greens
At Asian grocery stores, you can buy pickled mustard greens made in other Asian countries such as China, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Compared to the Japanese version of pickled mustard greens, they have much stronger acidity as the main pickling liquid is vinegar. The colour of the vegetables is very similar.
If you add some soy sauce and a small amount of sugar to those Asian pickled mustard greens and leave them overnight, the acidity becomes milder with a hint of umami, making it closer to takanazuke.
What’s in My Fried Rice with Pickled Mustard Greens (Takana Chāhan)
- Hot/warm cooked rice
- Finely chopped green onions
- Julienned takanazuke (Japanese pickled mustard greens)
- Vegetable oil
- Sesame oil
- Konbu dashi powder
- Soy sauce
The most important ingredient in this recipe is the Japanese pickled mustard greens, takanzuke. I hope you can get a pack of takanazuke. If you can only get a pack of Asian pickled mustard greens, enhance the flavour of the pickles as explained in the previous section before using them.
I used konbu dashi powder to make the fried rice a vegetarian dish. You can use bonito-based dashi powder if you like.
How to Make Fried Rice with Pickled Mustard Greens (Takana Chāhan)
The process of making Takana Chāhan is slightly different from my other fried rice recipe Japanese Fried Rice (Chāhan) with Instant Seasoning. I cook egg, then rice before adding takanazuke and green onions. This is because takanazuke hardly requires cooking.
- Heat the vegetable oil and cook eggs in a frying pan.
- Add rice to the pan and stir fry, breaking up the lumps of rice and the egg.
- Add green onions, then takanazuke. Stir fry, mixing all ingredients.
- Add dashi powder and soy sauce and mix.
- Drizzle sesame oil around the edge of the pan, then mix into the fried rice.
- Serve while hot.
I used a wok instead of a frying pan as you can see in the step-by-step photos. Fried rice needs to be cooked at high heat quickly. A wok is perfect for that because the round shape conducts heat quickly.
Adding sesame oil at the end enhances the nutty flavour effectively instead of adding it first. It also uses a smaller amount.
Once the ingredients are prepared, it takes only 5 minutes to cook the fried rice. It is so quick to make. The colour of this fried rice is brownish green and not as colourful as my Japanese Fried Rice (Chāhan) with Instant Seasoning. But it tastes delicious.
Today’s recipe, Fried Rice with Pickled Mustard Greens (Takana Chāhan), is a vegetarian fried rice. Unlike commonly served fried rice, it has a sour flavour, which comes from the pickled mustard greens.
Don't forget to see the section 'MEAL IDEAS' below the recipe card! It gives you a list of dishes that I have already posted and this recipe that can make up a complete meal. I hope it is of help to you.
Vertically halve or quarter the mustard green leaves as they are quite wide. Then finely chop them crosswise into 3-4mm/⅛-3⁄16" wide pieces.
Heat vegetable oil in a wok or a frying pan over high heat.
Put two eggs into the wok/pan, mix quickly (note 4). When the egg is almost cooked through, add rice to the wok/pan.
Stir-fry continuously for about a minute, breaking up lumps of rice and large pieces of egg.
Add green onions and mix for 30 seconds, then add mustard greens.
Stir fry for 30 seconds or so, ensuring that the vegetable pieces are evenly mixed with the rice.
Add dashi powder and soy sauce. Mix well quickly.
Drizzle sesame oil around the edge of the wok/pan, then mix into the fried rice by turning the rice over or tossing the rice.
Turn the heat off and serve while hot (note 5).
1. I used medium grain rice, which is less starchy than the short grain rice such as the standard Japanese rice and sushi rice. You can also use long grain rice. If you are using Japanese rice/sushi rice, you may want to quickly rinse the rice to make it less starchy.
2. I used Japanese pickled mustard greens called takanazuke (高菜漬け). If you can’t find takanazuke, you can use pickled mustard greens from an Asian grocery store. They are made in China, Thailand, or Vietnam.
The acidity of these Asian pickled mustard greens is quite strong compared to the Japanese pickled mustard greens. So, if you are using one of these, add some soy sauce and sugar to the marinade and leave it overnight. The acidity of the pickled mustard greens becomes much milder, and the flavour becomes closer to my takanazuke. It also adds umami to the pickles.
You can also buy a pack of chopped takanazuke, which often has some chillies added to the marinade. You can use chopped takanazuke instead of whole pickled takana leaves and skip the first step of the Instructions.
3. I used konbu dashi powder to make a vegetarian fried rice. But you can use katsuo (bonito-based) dashi powder if you like.
4. The egg whites and yolks don’t have to be completely mixed. You don’t need to make the egg scrambled into pieces because it will be broken up into smaller pieces when you stir fry later.
5. I used a rice bowl to serve a dome-shaped fried rice, but you don’t have to do this.
6. Nutrition per serving.
serving: 273g calories: 365kcal fat: 14g (18%) saturated fat: 2.7g (14%) trans fat: 0.1g polyunsaturated fat: 5.9g monounsaturated fat: 4.8g cholesterol: 186mg (62%) sodium: 158mg (7%) carbohydrates: 46g (17%) dietary fibre: 2.4g (9%) sugar: 1.4g protein: 12g vitamin D: 1mcg (5%) calcium: mg (8%) iron: 3.7mg (21%) potassium: 329mg (7%)