My Much-Missed Cabbage Rice

One of the things I missed after moving out is Mom’s cabbage rice. The waft of the fragrant cabbage rice would fill up the entire home whenever she cooks the dish. I have not thought about cooking it on my own after moving into our own place. This is because I am still a novice cook and I was always busy with the endless marking that plagues most teachers.

A twist of fate

A wedge of cabbage ended up in my kitchen recently and I was cracking my head trying to figure out what to do with it. That morning, the friendly auntie at the vegetable stall managed to sell me the cabbage when I was shopping for other veggies (“买一点 cabbage 啦… 太多吃不完啊?不用紧,auntie 切一半给你!” ). I remembered that Mom recently cooked her cabbage rice for Papa, and decided to attempt to cook the dish.

Putting together the recipe

I consulted Mom mainly on the steps as the amount of ingredients she used were based on estimation. She is a veteran cook after all and often went with her gut-feel and memory for the ingredients. Coupled with some reading up online, I improvised and came up with my own rendition of the much-missed cabbage rice. It still tastes like Mom’s version but with a key difference – mine uses chicken meat (bone-in!) and chicken stock for the flavour in the rice, while hers relied on dried shrimps, dried mushrooms and soy sauce. I’m pretty sure my carnivorous hubby will appreciate this more 🙂Cabbage Rice

My cabbage rice recipe

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 1 cup Japanese rice
  • 1 whole chicken leg cut into 4 pieces
  • ¼ wedge cabbage
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 4 pcs sliced old ginger
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp ginger juice
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp corn flour
  • ¼ cup dried shrimps (hae bee)
  • 250ml chicken stock

Pre-cooking Prep

  1. Make shallow cuts on the chicken and marinate it in soy sauce, ginger juice, brown sugar, corn flour and 1 tbsp sesame oil. Leave for at least 6 hours in the fridge.
  2. Wash rice. Soak rice in the rice cooker with chicken stock and sliced ginger for 1 hour prior to cooking.*
  3. Soak dried shrimps in water until softened (about 30 minutes depending on the size of shrimps).
  4. Chop cabbage into roughly 2 cm squares.
  5. Peel and slice onion.

Cooking Directions

  1. Pat dry soaked shrimps with paper towels. Keep the soaking water.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp sesame oil and fry dried shrimps until fragrant.
  3. Add garlic and onion. Fry until onion softens.
  4. Add chicken (without the marinate) and stir fry until the chicken gets cooked on the outside.
  5. Add cabbage and 1 tbsp of the soaking water. Mix well everything and simmer until cabbage starts to soften (about 5 minutes).
  6. Transfer everything into the rice cooker.
  7. Set to cook under “white rice”.
  8. When the rice is ready, remove the sliced ginger. Mix well before serving.

* – Additional Notes

  • I used Japanese white rice which benefits from soaking. Simply wash and drain if you are using the normal Chinese white rice. No soaking is needed.
  • Water may be used for soaking in place of the chicken stock. In that case, adjust the taste accordingly at Step 5 before simmering.
  • After adding the stock in the rice cooker, if the water level is below the 1 cup marking, top up the deficit with the soaking water for the dried shrimps for a more flavourful taste.

Feel free to share your thoughts with me after trying out the recipe!