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Recipes of China: Mustard Greens with Tofu Skin from Dai Ho

By Clarissa Wei

Mar. 16, 2017
May Ku from Dai Ho Restaraunt teaches Clarissa Wei how to make mustard greens with tofu skin
Clarissa Wei learns how to make mustard greens with tofu skin

Food blogger Clarissa Wei learns how to make this versatile side dish from Dai Ho.

There’s a little noodle restaurant in Temple City, Calif., open 3.5 hours a day from Tuesday to Sunday. It’s been around for three decades, and every day, like clockwork, a steady stream of patrons—usually Chinese—walk through the doors for a reliable bowl of noodles.

This is Dai Ho restaurant. Owned by May and Jim Ku, they specialize in fresh, small-batch bowls of mian (noodles) with an edgy kick. Both May and Jim are originally from Taiwan and have been at the helm of their restaurant since the beginning.

A bowl of Chinese dry noodles
One of the small-batch bowls of mian (noodles) with an edgy kick from Dai Ho restaurant

The beef noodle soup is a crowd favorite. Beef shanks are slow-cooked for four hours and then marinated overnight. Everything is made-to-order. There are wonderful sesame dry noodles or noodles with ground pork; May recommends a generous dollop of chili sauce on both.

Noodle dish from Dai Ho restarurant
Dai Ho restaurant features a variety of noodle dishes

When I walked through their doors one February afternoon and asked May for a recipe, she immediately sat me down and began listing out a string of dishes and their respective ingredients. We determined that most of the noodles and their respective sauces and broths would be too complicated for the home cook. May makes everything, even the chili and the peanut sauce, from scratch and in bulk—she says she doesn’t trust the store brands. We went down her menu and finally settled on a side dish—mustard greens with tofu skin.

I know. It sounds unimpressive, and it’s a small thing, compared to the fantastical bowls of noodles swimming in depth and flavor—for those, you’ll just have to pay Dai Ho a visit. And Dai Ho also offers a variety of side dishes that are equally tasty and much easier to make.

Mustard Greens with Tofu Skin
Mustard Greens with Tofu Skin

Mustard greens with tofu skin is an extremely versatile dish that can be used for noodle toppings, on top of rice, or just as a side dish. It’s easy to recreate, and if you make too much, it keeps well in the fridge. When I make this dish at home, I like to add in fresh chili peppers for an extra kick. Here’s the recipe:

Mustard Greens with Tofu Skin

Prep time: 1 day

Cooking time: 1 hour

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of mustard greens, also known as xue cai (雪菜) in Chinese
  • 2 large strips of dried tofu skin (about 8 oz)
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 1 cup edamame beans
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp chicken bouillon powder
  • Pinch of cornstarch
  • Water
  • Chili peppers (optional)
Directions:

  1. Wash and cut the mustard greens into bite-sized pieces. In a large bowl, layer the greens. Lay down one layer, add a sprinkling of salt. Put another layer, add salt on top. Repeat until all the greens have been used.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in the refrigerator overnight.
  3. The next day, rinse the greens with water and dry.
  4. For the tofu skin, submerge in warm water with baking soda for 30 minutes. Drain and wash tofu skin, and then submerge in clean, warm water for 10 minutes.
  5. Drain tofu (be sure to squeeze all the excess liquid out) and cut into noodle-like ribbons. Set aside.
  6. Heat oil on medium-high heat in a large non-stick pan. Add mustard greens. Stir for 20 seconds. Add 1 cup water and tofu skin ribbons. Add in fresh chili peppers (optional). Stir in chicken bouillon and wait until it comes to a boil.
  7. Turn heat to low and add edamame beans.
  8. Make a slurry by stirring together cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water. Stir into the dish slowly. When soy beans are warmed through, the dish is ready.
  9. Serve immediately.

Dai Ho Restaurant: 9148 E Las Tunas Dr, Temple City, CA 91780

Hungry for more? Follow Clarissa’s journey through China as she uncovers authentic dishes and cultural insight.

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