Vegetable braised rice (菜焖饭） is something very common in the olden days not only in Singapore and Malaysia but also in China. I recently watched a TV documentary on one of the villages in China and it seems that vegetable braised rice are very common there. The commenter said that it is available in all parts of China and in the olden days, in order to save time for farming, farmers cooked rice, vegetable and meat together to become a pot dish that is delicious and packed with nutrients .
Every dialect has its own preference of vegetables used and for my dialect Zhaoan, we like to use napa cabbage and tower gourd . However, I know there are many other vegetables that can be used. It can be vegetables such as long bean, French beans and one of the most common ones is mustard green. I am unsure which dialect’s version is this and I suspect it is either Hakka or Hokkien .
Facebook members always posted this dish and that prompted me wanted to try preparing using this vegetable. This is the first time I prepared this dish but I am confidence that it will work because i have braised vegetable rice for many times. In fact it is also one of the comfort foods when we are running out of time.
For this recipe, I have used both fresh pork belly and also the canned stewed pork (扣肉）for the recipe. You can choose either one of them or just like me, both. The rationale that I am using canned stewed pork is because the canned gravy that goes well with the rice. I need much less seasoning with the ready made canned stewed pork.
I already have a vegetable braised rice recipe using white gourd (Recipe: White Gourd Braised Rice (白莆焖饭）) and my families loves this as well. But that recipe is the short cut method using rice cooker. Therefore, in this recipe, i have resorted to the traditional method by braising the rice over stove. It is an experience and definitely is tougher than the rice cooker method.
In fact, rice cooker method produce much better rice texture and there are less risk of soggy rice. For stove top method, you have to juggling to ensure that the rice is cooked and meanwhile not soggy. Therefore, it needs some practises. I will rate myself 8/10 as i find that the rice is still a bit too wet. In my next attempt, I will use rice cooker method that produces drier rice grains. Taste wise, I am happy and I knew before hand that it will work well with these combos.
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Servings: 4-6 adult servings
- 3 cups of rice, soaked for at least one hour
- 200 grams of mustard green
- 1 small can of stewed pork
- 200 grams of pork belly
- 3 tablespoons of dried shrimps， soaked until soft
- 8 dried shitake mushrooms, soak until soft and sliced thinly
- 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
- 3 tablespoons of oyster sauce
- Pinches of salt
STEPS OF PREPARATION
- Wash and cut the mustard green into big pieces.
- Cut the pork belly meat into small slices.
- In a wok, put 2 tablespoons of cooking oil, sauté the minced garlic until aromatic. Add the dried shrimps and dried mushroom, stir fry until the dry shrimps are fragrant. Add the vegetables and the pork belly. Stir fry for a minute until the flavours are incorporated. Add 4 cups of water.
- Add the canned stewed pork, the oyster sauce and salt. Bring the mixture to boil and once it boils, reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer for at least 10 minutes. Add the drained rice on top as evenly as possible, REDUCE THE HEAT FROM MEDIUM TO SMALL, cover with lid (best to ensure that there are no air leakages) and let it braise for 20-30 minutes until the rice is fully cooked. Give it a light stir half way during the braising to ensure evenly cooked rice If your rice is uncooked and the water is drying too fast, you can add more water.
- Alternatively, you can cook using rice cooker. Once the vegetable are stir fried, add in the drained rice followed by oyster sauce, salt and canned stewed pork. Stir until well mixed. Transfer to the rice cooker pot, add 3 cups of water (rice cooker use less water) and cook as per rice cooker instruction. Fluff the rice before serving.
Braised vegetable rice is very easy with rice rice cooker. However, it is a bit more challenging to cook over the stove. By addition of canned stewed pork, I find this canned pork really blends very well with the rice. If you are adverse to consuming canned food, you can always opt out and use pure pork belly only.
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