Chinese Kale (or Broccoli Rabe) with Pork Cracklings


I learned this salad from a Shan woman who was born and raised near Inle Lake and now lives in northern Thailand, not far from the Burmese border.

The original recipe used Chinese kale, a broccoli-like green that is widely available in Asian groceries (where it’s often labeled gai lan, its Cantonese name) and in large supermarkets. Broccoli rabe is a delicious alternative.

The greens are dressed and flavored with roasted peanuts, coarsely ground pork cracklings, and aromatics.


  • 1 pound Chinese kale or broccoli rabe
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • ¼ cup minced garlic
  • Scant 2 cups fried pork skin (chicharrones), store-bought or homemade
  • ½ cup Chopped Roasted Peanuts
  • 1 Soybean Disk, or substitute 1 to 2 tablespoons Toasted Chickpea Flour plus 1 teaspoon brown miso
  • 2 mild white onions or 4 shallots, very thinly sliced lengthwise ( cups)
  • 2 or 3 small Roma (plum) or other fleshy tomatoes, cut into thin wedges (about 1½ cups)
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 teaspoons salt, or to taste


Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil. Toss in the greens and cook for several minutes, until starting to soften. Drain thoroughly and set aside to cool.

Heat the oil in a skillet or wok over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, or until a rich golden color. Set the garlic and oil aside.

Pound or process the fried pork skin to coarse lumps and powder in a mortar or food processor (you should have about cups). Set aside. Pound or process the peanuts briefly to reduce them to a coarse powder, and set aside.

If using the soybean disk, lightly toast it over a flame or in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until aromatic. Pound or process it to a powder.

Slice the greens into ½-inch lengths and place in a large bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients and use your hands to blend them together thoroughly. Taste and adjust for salt if you wish.