Ya Cai storage

I have been getting into Szechuan cooking and a few recipes call for ya cai. Typically I only need a few tablespoons and it comes in like a 16 oz package. I’d rather not have to use a package every time I cook, but didn’t know if this keeps well. Currently I have some opened product stored in an airtight container in my fridge, but don’t know if this is OK and if so, how long it will last. Any experience with this ingredient?

you could pack it into an ice cube tray and freeze in individual use sizes.

Great idea. Any idea on how long it keeps frozen?

Years I bet.

You might also search recipes that use more of it. There’s a local place here called Taste of Sichuan that makes a number of dishes with it. There’s a braised pork belly with bok choy that uses over a handful. There’s also a fish and glass noodle soup with a fair bit of it in it too.

This is from someone I respect highly on another board!!

“Hello Paul,

I don’t use Szechuanese ya cai that much. In fact, rarely. (I seldom cook Szechuanese dishes and even when I do I tend to cook stuff that do not need Szechuanese ya cai.) On the few occasions I have used this ingredient, I may use part of the package (see below), say, then pop the rest into the fridge (or freezer) for a while. Either I use the rest soon or it gets thrown away after I-can’t-remember-how-long-afterwards, sorry.

Off the top of my head I don’t see why the stuff can’t be held for a while (especially in an airtight container - air evacuated? not air evacuated?) considering the stuff was “preserved” and has salt etc in it. How long it can be kept around like this I don’t know. I might imagine that freezing it in one of those MC-type vacuum baggies ought to work, no?

For myself, I get the stuff (when I do) in 100g packages, which comes to maybe 3 heaped tablespoons or thereabouts and it is so cheap that retaining leftovers (if any) and using all of the package to the end seems not worthwhile - but that’s just me. I don’t remember exactly how much they are but these 100 g packages are somewhere between 50 cents and $1 — 69 or 89 cents sounds about right to me. Is it you or Matt Thomas that gets this in those ENORMOUS 16 oz packages? I also suppose if it was difficult to find it in the first place or if it was really expensive for some reason then that’s a different situation.

Sorry I can’t be of more help.



p.s. I assume you know that outside of Szechuan “ya cai” (without a qualifier) usually means bean sprouts.”

Just passing it on… cheers Doc

Thanks! I have only been able to find it in the larger package ($2.50-3.50 depending on where I get it).