Sirloin steak with pickled mustard seeds and greens

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mustard seeds
chili, shallot, etc
sirloin steak (in non-American English it’s generally called rump steak)
dark greens (I used purple curly kale, and two bunches were enough for maybe 3 people)
honey (very optional)
Thai fish sauce (or soy sauce, or Worcestershire, or skip it)
Chinese five spice (very optional)
fresh cilantro for garnish (very optional)

For the mustard seeds, take some whole mustard seeds (I used about half a cup, which was way more than I needed for this meal), put them in fresh water, bring them to a boil, drain and rinse them to purge their bitterness. You can repeat this process a few times to get out more bitterness, which you can assess by tasting a seed or the water.

If you want, dice up some aromatic vegetables — I did a red chili and a shallot. Combine the drained seeds with vinegar (I used rice vinegar) and maybe some water, if you don’t want them too tart. Add in a little sweetener if you want — I used a handful of white sugar and it was a little too sweet for me. Add a pinch of two of salt.

Make sure the seeds are fully submerged and have maybe a centimeter of extra liquid on top. Heat back up and boil for 7-8 minutes, put in the diced vegetables, and boil for a couple minutes more until the seeds are plump and as tender as you want them. Add more vinegar or water if they need them, but I try to limit the amount of liquid so I get a thick condiment at the end. Taste and adjust salt/sugar/etc. Eat them hot, or chill in the fridge — they get better with age and last at least a couple weeks in the fridge.


When you want to eat, peel and dice some garlic and ginger for the greens and set aside. Cut the really thick, central stems out of the greens. If you want to eat the stems, slice them up very thin and set them aside. Hack up the leaves a bit.

Cut the sirloin apart along the natural boundaries between the muscles and trim out the fat and gristle between them. Season with salt, pepper and a little five spice, and rub down the steaks with oil. Get a wide pan very hot and cook the steaks. Take them out, and while they rest, throw in the sliced stems, along with some additional oil if there isn’t any fat left in the pan. Be careful not to burn the fond at the bottom of the pan and pull the heat down, if necessary.

After you’ve given the stems a 2-minute head start, stir in the garlic and ginger, then immediately put in as many of the leaves as you can fit. If the leaves aren’t very wet, you might need to pour in a little water to deglaze the pan and get the leaves cooking down. As the leaves cook you’ll be able to fit the rest in. Put in a few shakes of fish sauce. When the the greens are cooked down (mine took about 5 minutes), stir in a little honey if you want it, taste and adjust seasoning. Take the pan of the heat but leave the greens in there to stay warm while you slice the meat.

Slice the meat, put some hot greens on a plate and lay the beef on top, spoon on the mustard seeds and maybe sprinkle on cilantro leaves.

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