Yu Choy and Char Siu Pork Salad

Yu Choy and Char Siu Pork Salad

For this Yu Choy and Char Siu Pork Salad choose young, tender choy sum for its mildly sweet flavour which compliments the earthiness of the red cabbage, fresh herbs and tart vinaigrette – a perfect partner to the sweet Char Siu Pork fillet.

A great recipe to serve as part of an Asian banquet, at a buffet or barbecue. A great lunchbox salad or picnic salad as it travels well.

I like to make my own Char Siu Pork using a recipe from Nagi at Recipe Tin Eats. I will double the recipe and freeze half to cook at a later date.

The ingredients for this Yu Choy and Char Siu Pork Salad…

Char Siu Pork

Char Siu or Chinese Barbecue Pork is a traditional way to prepare pork in Cantonese cuisine. Pork is roasted on high heat creating a crispy charred exterior while the sauce is sweet and salty and creates a sticky glaze.


Yu Cho or Choy Sum

Yu choy sum is relatively mild, with a slightly sweet flavour. Older yu choy often has a more pronounced bitter and/or mustard-like flavour. The stems are generally more intensely flavoured than the leaves.

In this salad we use the young choy sum for its tender crispness.

The health benefits of Yu Choy…

  • Yu choy is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, which are antioxidants that help repair damage within the skin and fight against free radicals.
  • Also a good source of calcium (for the health of your bones)
  • It also contains some potassium (regulates blood pressure) and iron (for production of red blood cells).

Choosing and storing your Yu Choy…

Look for young, tender stalks that are not rubbery or spitting and that have bright green, glossy leaves.

The ones with no flowers are choy sum the one with flowers are yu choy.

Avoid wilted, lifeless or yellow leaves.

Store unwashed in a perforated plastic bag, use within three days of purchase.

The difference between You Choy and Choy Sum…

The younger, tender vegetable hearts are choy sum. The larger, less tender vegetable that may have some yellow flowers are yu choy.

Red Cabbage

Has dark reddish-purple leaves outside with a red and white interior. It tastes a little deeper and earthier than green cabbage.

The health benefits of Red Cabbage…

  • An excellent source of vitamin C (maintains and repairs body tissue, helps absorb Iron and helps form collagen)
  • Vitamin K (good for bone health and blood clotting).
  • It is also a great source of folate (makes red and white blood cells), potassium and dietary fibre (healthy bowel).
  • Red cabbage is rich in anthocyanins.
What is better for you Red or Green Cabbage…

Both red and green cabbage have similar health benefits, however red cabbage has a higher concentration of anthocyanin polyphenols.

Anthocyanins are the pigments that give red, blue and purple fruits and vegetables their colouring, for instance blueberries and eggplants.

They primarily act as antioxidants and fight free radicals. Additionally, they may offer anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-cancer benefits.

Herbal remedies that are rich in anthocyanins are used to treat high blood pressure, colds and urinary tract infections.

Research shows that anthocyanins benefit…

Heart disease enhances heart health, improve cholesterol, blood sugar metabolism and fight oxidative stress (from 2010 report in Nutrition Reviews).

May help prevent high blood pressure (from 2011 study in the American Journal of Nutrition).

Obesity – preliminary research done in mice shows that it could protect against obesity (from 2008 study Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry).

Cancer – test tube tests show that it may aid breast cancer (from 2010 study in Phytotherapy Research).

Choosing and storing your Red Cabbage …

Select cabbage that is heavy for its size, with crisp, brightly coloured leaves.

Avoid cabbages with droopy, wilted, yellow or discoloured outer leaves.

Also, be on the lookout for signs of insect damage.

The tightness of the outer leaves indicates the freshness – separation from the head of the cabbage suggests that the vegetable is old.

Red cabbage should be stored in a plastic bag in the crisper section of your fridge and it will keep for up to a week.

Cabbages that have been cut will lose their freshness more rapidly than whole cabbages.


Carrots offer up their sweetest flavours in Spring, Summer and Autumn when they have been freshly harvested.  Carrots are crunchy when raw with a sweet or bitter, earthy flavour, and the leaves are also edible with an herbaceous, parsley-like taste.

The health benefits of Carrots…

  • An excellent source of beta-carotene converted to vitamin A and crucial for good vision.
  • High in folate, essential in early pregnancy for the healthy development of a baby.
  • A great source of dietary fibre.

Choosing and storing your Carrots…

Choose firm carrots and avoid any that are limp, dry, soft, or rubbery.


If the leaves are still attached, it is an excellent sign of freshness.

Mature carrots should have fairly smooth skin with few blemishes. Medium carrots will be sweeter than larger carrots and will have a more tender core.

To store your carrots first trim any greens, leaving a small stem attached.

If you would like to keep the greens, wrap the leaves in barely damp paper towels, and store in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.

Put carrots, unwashed and untrimmed, in an open plastic bag, they should last 3 to 4 weeks.



The most common types of mint sold for eating in Australia are regular mint and Vietnamese mint.  Mint is a native to the Mediterranean region and has oval and serrated leaves that are indented with veins and come to a point

In this salad you could use both:

  • common mint has a fresh, fragrant mint and cooling taste with sweet overtones.
  • Vietnamese mint has a hot, pungent flavour and is not a true mint but a herbaceous perennial.
The health benefits of mint…
  • Mint is rich in vitamin A (important for growth and development and the maintenance of your immune system) and Vitamin C (needed for the growth and repair of tissues in the body)
  • It also has the trace mineral manganese.
  • Mint contains dietary fibre, which is important for a healthy bowel.
Choosing and storing your mint…

Choose fresh-looking bunches, with green, pert leaves. Avoid blackened or marked bunches with wilted leaves.

Mint leaves discolour easily so make sure that it is completely dry before storing wrapped in paper towels in the crisper section of your fridge.


Coriander (Cilantro)

All parts of the coriander plant are used in cooking from its seeds, leaves, stems and roots. Coriander leaves are scalloped and bright green with long narrow stems, they are sold in bunches with part of the root attached.

It has a citrusy, sweet taste like a combination between parsley and citrus. You either like coriander or hate it. Those that like it say it has a fresh lemony lime taste while those who hate it say it tastes soapy or mouldy taste.

The health benefits of coriander (cilantro)…
  • Coriander is a good source of vitamin A (important for growth and development and the maintenance of your immune system).
  • Also, a good source of Vitamin C (needed for the growth and repair of tissues in the body) and K (important for helping your blood to clot).
  • It also contains minerals such as potassium (which helps to regulate blood pressure), manganese and magnesium (involved in the regulation of muscle, heart and nerve function and keeping bones strong).
  • Coriander contains dietary fibre, which is important for a healthy bowel.
Choosing and storing your coriander (cilantro)…
  • Choose fresh-looking bunches with green leaves.
  • Avoid wilted bunches and blackened or waterlogged leaves.
  • Make sure that the leaves are dry before storing.
  • Store in a plastic bag or wrapped in paper towels in the crisper section of your fridge.


The oils

For this salad it is best to use a neutral oil as a base it has little or no flavour either peanut or grapeseed oil would work best. We also add some pure sesame oil for its nuttiness.

yu-choy - neutral oil

Peanut Oil also called groundnut oil is made from the edible seeds of the peanut plant. It is a mild flavoured oil that is perfect for frying as it has a high smoke point.u

Grape-seed Oil is a great source of vitamin E and high in polyunsaturated fats. It is an abundant by-product of winemaking as it is pressed from the seeds of grapes. It is a pale and delicate oil and will not cloud when refrigerated which makes it perfect for mayonnaise or salad dressings.

Dark Sesame Oil choose an Asian one for its intense flavour, which is produced from toasted sesame seeds.

Choosing and storing your oils

Oils pack the most nutrients when they’re unheated and unrefined. Cold-pressed oils that haven’t been extracted with solvents retain more vitamins and minerals, but because the method is more time-consuming, they cost more.

As oils are sensitive to heat, light and exposure to oxygen it is best to choose dark glass or metal cans; if it’s in clear glass, select a bottle from the back of the shelf, as these will have less exposure to light.

They are best stored in the fridge or a cool or in dry place and should be kept 4-6 months once opened. Oil should keep for four to six months once opened and longer in the fridge.

How do I know if my oil is rancid?

Your sense of smell is the best way to see if your oil is off as rancid oils have a metallic, bitter or soapy aroma.

Another way to check rancidity is by pouring a little on your fingers and if it feels sticky then it is rancid and you should throw it away.

The acidulants

yu choy - rice vinegar

Rice Vinegar is most commonly produced in China and Japan from rice wine or sake. It is less acidic than western vinegar with a subtle tang and sweeter taste than wine vinegar. coy – r

Choose a white rice vinegar for this recipe as they are generally the sweetest and mildest of all the rice vinegar. It should be stored in a cool, dark place.

Lime Juice has a higher content of sugars and acids than lemon juice does and has a bitter, acidic taste.

yu-choy - limes

When choosing limes, look for clear, blemish-free rinds and a fruit that feels heavy as it will be juicier.

If stored at room temperature out of bright sunlight they will keep for about a week. If you would like to keep them for longer, store in the crisper section of your fridge for a month.

Other ingredients

Sesame seeds that are toasted for their nutty flavour and golden colour, while the extra drizzle of hoisin sauce adds a pungent flavour and stickiness.

Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are tiny, flat oval seeds that have a nutty taste and a slight crunch.

They are highly valued for their high content of sesame oil, an oil that is very resistant to rancidity.

Choosing and storing your sesame seeds…
  • Sesame seeds are sold in packets in Australia, make sure the packaging is not damaged.
  • Make sure there is no evidence of moisture and smell them before buying to make sure that they smell fresh.
  • They have a high oil content and are prone to rancidity.

Hoisin Sauce

Also called Chinese barbecue sauce, is a condiment based on fermented soybeans. It is a thick, fragrant sauce, dark in colour with a sweet-salty umami taste.

Hoisin has Cantonese origins and translates to ‘seafood’ even though no seafood can be found in it.

Choosing and storing your Hoisin Sauce

You will find Hoisin Sauce in the International food section at your local supermarket or from an Asian specialty store.

Store in a cool dark place unopened but once it has been opened store in the fridge.

Preparing your Yu Cho and Char Siu Pork Salad…

For the Yu Choy / Choy Sum

Cut off the base of the stalks and trim to remove any fibrous outer husk. Remove any wilted, yellowed or damaged leaves.

Wash under cold running water taking care to remove any dirt between the leaves and stalks, then drain and pat dry.

Shred thinly chiffonade style by stacking the leaves on top of each other, gently rolling them into a cigar, and then using a sharp knife slice them into thin ribbons.

For the Red Cabbage

Remove the wilted, discoloured, and thicker outer leaves, cut the cabbage into wedges and rinse under cold running water.

If there are signs of worms or insects after the head is cut open, rid the cabbage of them by soaking it in salt water for 20 minutes.

Cut the coarse stems from each of the wedges. After the cabbage has been cut into wedges and had the core removed, it can be shredded by hand, using a mandoline or in a food processor with the thin slicing attachment.

For the Carrot


Very young carrots just need to be scrubbed clean and topped and tailed. Older carrots may need to be peeled (but try not to take too much off as most of the nutrients are stored just beneath the skin.

For this recipe, you will need to cut your carrots into a fine julienne. This can be done using a julienne peeler or with the julienne attachment on your mandoline/v-slicer.

For the Herbs


1Rinse well in a colander under cold running water, then pat dry.

2Remove the leaves from the stems by holding the stems and either use a chef’s knife to shave the leaves off with the blade pointing away from you. You can leave the more tender stems attached.

3 Gather the leaves in the centre of your board. Start from on one side of the pile and cut through them making only a few deliberate cuts. Gather them again in a pile and cut through them again until roughly chopped.

Yu Choy and Char Siu Pork Salad


Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time0 mins
Total Time20 mins


  • Mandoline / V-Slicer or Julienne Peeler or a Food Processor


For the salad…

  • 400 grams Char siu pork1
  • 1 bunch choy sum
  • ¼ red cabbage (approximately 200 grams)
  • 1 medium carrot
  • ¼ cup coriander (cilantro) leaves (chopped)
  • ¼ cup mint leaves
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper

For the vinaigrette…

  • cup neutral oil (either a peanut or grapeseed oil)
  • 1 tsp Asian dark sesame oil
  • 4 tbsps rice vinegar
  • 3 tbsps lime juice

For the garnish…

  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds (toasted)
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce2


  • Wash the red cabbage, remove the core and the outer leaves. Shred finely using a mandoline/v-slicer slicer and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  • Wash the choy sum cut off the ends, then shred finely. Transfer to your bowl.
  • Wash and peel your carrots, remove the tops and ends. Then cut into a fine julienne using a julienne peeler or the julienne attachment on your mandoline/v-slicer. Transfer to your bowl.
  • If your char siu pork is not sliced, cut into thin rounds.
  • Place all the vinaigrette ingredients to a glass jar, shake until emulsified.
  • Add the herbs to your bowl with all the salad ingredients, pour the dressing over the salad, season with salt and pepper. Toss your salad until well combined, taste and adjust seasonings according to your taste.
  • Place the salad on a large platter, arrange the pork slice on top, drizzle the hoisin sauce on top, scatter with the sesame seeds and serve



  1. Available from larger Coles & Woolworths Stores called Chinese BBQ pork
    or Asian Food Stores or make your own.
  2. If you are making your own Char Siu Pork then just add a tablespoon of the pan juices.


Nutrition Facts
Yu Choy and Char Siu Pork Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 786 Calories from Fat 666
% Daily Value*
Fat 74g114%
Saturated Fat 23g144%
Cholesterol 73mg24%
Sodium 394mg17%
Potassium 425mg12%
Carbohydrates 18g6%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 13g26%
Vitamin A 8320IU166%
Vitamin C 99mg120%
Calcium 186mg19%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 The video is courtesy of Saveur.

Try some more of our Asian Style Salads…

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