Sawi (Field Mustard Leaves) & Beef Stir Fry

Field mustard leaf (sawi in Malay, or cai xin in Mandarin) stir fried with beef is a very common Cantonese dish. It is easy to prepare and taste really good. You can also try stir frying field mustard with garlic.


  • 400g field mustard leaves, cut into 4-5 cm length
  • 200g beef, thinly sliced to bite size
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tablesspoon chopped ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoons Chinese rice wine (Hua-Diao/Shao-Xing)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca flour


  1. Mix the ginger, salt, sugar, rice wine, flour and vegetable oil together and use it to marinate the beef for at least 2 hours.
  2. Heat some vegetable oil in the wok on high, add in the beef and stir fry for a few minutes till it is brown but not completely cooked.
  3. Remove the beef from the wok and set aside in a plate.
  4. Add a little oil into the wok, brown the garlic then add in the field mustard leaves. Stir fry till the leaves turn a darker green (but not brown or yellow). Add the beef back in the wok and continue to stir fry for 2-3 minutes more.
  5. Mix the tapioca flour with a little water, then stir in the mixture to thicken the gravy.
  6. Serve with hot boiled rice.

Versatility Note:

  1. You can try scorching the vegetable leaves prior to frying, this way they don't turn out soggy or soft too easily.
  2. You can throw in some sliced red chilies, if you like a little spicy taste.
  3. Some people like to add rice wine in only after step 4, it is rather flexible - depend on how you like the taste and the texture of the beef.