Celebrating Food! Celebrating Life!

高丽菜饭 Kor Leh Chye Png – Chinese Cabbage Rice

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Yet another quick post! I just came back from a hearty discussion with two friends at Starbucks over homemade kueh sarlat and their matcha frappucino on heritage cuisine and some exciting projects that will be happening soon on this blog. All that talk of food made me very very hungry naturally. Just wanna eat some comfort food, something which would bring me back to the days of my childhood, something easy and fast yet full of flavour. There is only one dish I can think of, my mum’s  高丽菜饭 Kor Leh Chye Png Chinese Cabbage Rice.

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We were discussing childhood dishes, what kind of food resonates within one the most is what one has eaten in one’s early years. It doesn’t have to be elaborated or sophisticated, it doesn’t have to be overtly technical or use extravagant or exotic ingredients. It’s one’s reminder of home, where we came from, what we grew up with and what make us who we are now.
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The ingredients are fairly simple, I already have the dried stuff (shrimp, mushroom and lup cheong) in my pantry at home, so all that is required to make a quick detour to the local supermarket for some ingredients like Beijing cabbage, pork belly and prawns. We like a combination of ingredients in our kor leh chye png. Yet the ingredient list is never static. Sometimes fresh pork belly is used, sometimes a leaner loin. Sometimes we would use roasted pork belly, when mum decided to be a bit more indulging. Boy I miss her cooking…
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There is a mixture of both meats and seafood in our kor leh chye png. A quick lesson by Chef Shen Tan aka “Madam Tan” last weekend at the Knorrthentic-SHC Cookout on nucleotides from meats and glutamates from seafood to create a more complete flavour profile explained this tradition perfectly. Our mothers and grandmothers knew it all along, just that they could not explain the intricacies behind those procedures, that’s all. While dried shrimp is a must, fresh prawns is entirely optional. We like lup cheong in our koh leh chye png as well. The rendered fat from these preserved pork and liver sausages elevate the flavours of the other ingredients making the whole dish more dimensional. As such, our family’s version doesn’t prescribe or stay tenacious to one particular dialect group, be it Teochew or Hokkien. Perhaps that is reflective of how my extended family is like, a mish mash of different communities through marriages, so we grew up listening to many different tongues as we grew up, and naturally we picked up these languages along the way…

Oh yes, I love to cook rice in a French oven like Le Creuset. Ever since I started doing this a couple of years back, I’d ditched my rice cooker and never turned back since. I love how the rice are individually grained yet remaining fluffy and soft. Moreover, everything can be done in one pot which saves me the hassle of washing one more wok!

高丽菜饭 Kor Leh Chye Png – Chinese Cabbage Rice Recipe (serves 3-4)

1 1/2 cup of rice, rinsed
200g Beijing cabbage, cut into large chunks
100g pork belly, cut into 0.5cm thick slices
1 lup cheong (chinese wine sausage), membrane removed and sliced thinly diagonally
5 Chinese mushrooms, soaked in warm water and sliced thinly (retain soaking liquids)
2 tbsp dried shrimp
6-8 large prawns, peeled
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 tbsp chicken powder
Pinch of salt, adjust to taste
Dash of pepper, adjust to taste
2 generous tbsp fried shallots
A sprig of coriander leaves (optional)
1 3/4 cups of mushroom and dried shrimp soaking liquids, for cooking rice so top up with more water if necessary.

To a heated French oven or casserole add cooking oil and add sliced pork belly.
Sautee until they turn slightly brown to render some fat.
Add sliced lup cheong and stir fry until fragrant.
Add garlic, followed by dried shrimp and stir fry until fragrant.
Add sliced Chinese mushroom, followed by cabbage chunks and stir fry until the leaves are slightly wilted.
Add rinsed rice and stir fry until the rice evenly coats all the ingredients.
Add mushroom and dried shrimp soaking liquids and mix around evenly.
Season with chicken powder, salt and some pepper.
Cover and bring to a boil before lowering flame to a bare simmer.
Cook covered for 10-15 min, depending on surface area of the pot base and flame control.
Use a pair of wooden chopsticks, fluff up the rice. Adjust flavours if necessary.
Lay the prawns over the surface of the rice, cover and continue to cook for another 5-8 min under very low heat.
Turn off the flame and allow the cooked rice to sit for 15-20 min.
Open lid, toss in fried shallots.
Ladle into bowls and serve immediately after adding more topping of fried shallots and coriander leaves.

11 responses

  1. Lucy Sun

    Hi Alan, nice picture.
    My family ate a lot of “kiam png” similar to your recipe during our kampong days. We usually mix the “kiam png” with a big spoonful of sambal belachan before eating. Garlic, dried prawns, mushrooms and rice are the standard ingredients. The other two ingredients are a meat and a vegetable. For meat, we use either belly pork, roast pork or canned pork. As for vegetables, we use either cabbage, brinjal, long beans, pumpkin or “dua chye” (mustard?).
    We call the cooking style “cheng kiam png”.
    Nowadays, I stir-fry all the ingredients in my pressure cooker and just add water (from soaking mushroom and dried prawns) to the same pot, cover and cook till the indicator is at 2nd ring. Super fast and yummy!

    October 21, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      Yum yum! I have never tried with brinjal! We had chye dau png! Kim kway png and orh png. dua chye png was lesser popular within the family for some unknown reasons. But I must try to revive it after hearing you cook it!

      October 24, 2016 at 9:22 am

  2. Charlie

    Hi Alan!

    Sounds so good.
    Could you tell me if there are any kind of peppers in the ingredient list of the lup cheong?

    October 21, 2016 at 11:42 pm

  3. My mom cooked this rice for us too beside ‘chai tau phng’ (long bean rice) Orr phng and mustard green rice. Real comfort food 😃

    October 23, 2016 at 1:58 pm

  4. Brownie

    How much water do you use for cooking the 1.5 c rice in LeCreuset Dutch oven on top of the liquid you used for other ingredients. Can you give an estimate amount of liquid all together . Otherwise the rice will come out soggy.

    October 24, 2016 at 12:58 am

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      I used 1 and 3/4 cups of water all in all as stated in the recipe. The water only went into cooking the rice and the other ingredients at the last part. No water was added during through sautéing and stir frying of the ingredients. 🙂

      October 24, 2016 at 9:20 am

  5. Yen

    You mentioned about using Le Creuset to cook rice instead of using a rice cooker. Does rice stick to the side of the pot after it has cooled or left in there for a long time? For my rice cooker, it is 2 cup rice with 3 cup water and takes about 45mins to cook. I hate that a lot of rice is wasted because it sticks to the side when left as ‘keep warm’ for a few hours. How is it compared to using Le Creuset ?

    October 24, 2016 at 10:55 am

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      you have to keep it covered for the rice to remain moist, so that they don’t stick to the sides of the pot. Le Creuset pots don’t have that “keep warm” function of course. so if I want to reheat the rice, I would drizzle some water and give the cold rice grains a quick toss with a pair of chopsticks, turn on the stove to get everything heated up and then cover. reheat with a weak flame until it is hot and then turn off the flame and leave it to sit for a while for the rice grains to be evenly “steamed” again. works well for me 🙂

      October 24, 2016 at 6:51 pm

  6. Hi, may I know the serving size of 3 to 4 pax is in terms of the typical Chinese rice bowl? Gonna try making this for my folks this weekend, they have a healthy appetite 🙂

    October 26, 2016 at 12:36 am

  7. Hi, just discovered your blog tho I’m on your IG. Beautiful stories and thanks for sharing. You mentioned your mom, and through your stories and dishes, her love and memory is lived out in you. Poignant and lovely. – JG.

    April 29, 2017 at 10:14 am

    • Alan (travellingfoodies)

      Thanks for your kind words. 🙂

      May 5, 2017 at 7:59 pm

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