We do call it “Kua Chai Pui”. Three syllable words. Somehow it is very difficult to translate into a decent English title. I tried my best to just name it by what the dish has in it.

Mother has been transferring the role of weekly grocery shopping to one of her sisters, who is a vegetarian, by the way. She often travels to far-away traditional and wet (literally) markets to search for the best and freshest vegetables and buys them by carload. She has been supplying us with beautiful vegetables for the past couple of week, and the item she loves the most is Chinese mustard cabbage. I think she must have loved it since it has been in her shopping list for weeks now!

The big bunch of green and juicy bitterish mustard cabbage are good for three dishes, rice, soup and pork stew. Pickled mustard greens are popular too in Chinese cuisine. Both fresh and pickled are delicious with roast pork. Stir fry, soup or stew.

We cooked the greens with rice. I think it is a claypot dish, but we have never cooked claypot at home before.

Get the freshest bunch of Asian mustard cabbage you can carry.

Chop off the green parts. We are only going to use the stalks and a bit of the leafy green.

Cut them into bite-sized by holding the knife (or cleaver) sideways. I am sure cutting them the usual way (straight 90 degree) would be perfectly fine! Just don’t do that in front of my mother.

Whole chicken. Cut off the excess skin and fat. Cut into bite sized with bone intact.

Some store-bought slices of Chinese-style roast pork.

Some rice.

A little bit of glutinous rice.

Combine both types of rice in a bowl and wash them thoroughly.

Soak the rice for an hour.

Bruise garlic in a mortar. Get rid off the skins.

Pound on dried shrimp in a mortar and pestle till fine, or process them briefly in a food processor.

Heat oil in a wok big enough to hold the rice and all the greens.

Stir fry garlic for a couple of seconds until fragrant.

Toss in dried shrimp. Stir fry for a couple of minutes.

Add roast pork and stir fry over medium heat.

All three ingredients, garlic, dried shrimp and roast pork should be stir-fried to golden and crisp texture.

When they reach that stage, add chicken pieces.

Season with soy sauce.

This is the brand that mother loves. It gives any dish that instant darkish color without compromising the taste.

You would want this nice beautiful brownish color.

Add some salt, as the soy sauce merely gives the dish some color. For a real kick, you still need the good o’ salt.

Add the mustard cabbage to the wok.

Stir-fry till the greens slightly wilted and all the other ingredients are mixed well.

Add soaked rice into the wok.

Mixed everything well. When the rice soaks up all the liquid in the wok, it is time to transfer it to a rice cooker to finish up the job.

Transfer half of the rice into rice cooker bowl.

Add boiling water into the bowl. My rule of thumb is the water added into uncooked rice should be around 30 – 35 percent of the weight of rice. If you like the rice to be soft, go for 35 percent of water weight. If al dente is what you go for, add 30 percent of water into the rice cooker bowl.

Cook them up in a rice cooker.

This is how the rice should look like when it is done. Very delicious and, as usual, our ultimate home-cooked dish. Serve with pickled cucumbers and pickled shallots with bird’s eye chili.


Mustard Cabbage with Chicken and Roast Pork Rice

Makes 6-8 servings


1 cup cooking oil
30 g garlic, lightly bruised
50 g dried shrimp, minced
100 g roast pork, cut into bite sizes
600 g whole chicken, cut into bite sizes
800 g mustard cabbage, cut into 5 cm pieces
150 g glutinous rice, washed
550 g rice, washed
2 tbsp soy sauce, Chinese dark soy sauce is preferred
1 tsp salt
900 - 950 g boiling water, for cooking rice


Heat cooking oil in a wok over medium heat. Stir fry garlic for 30 seconds till fragrant.
Add dried shrimp and cook for another minute.
Add roast pork and stir fry for a couple of minutes, until the dried shrimp and roast pork turn golden yellow and crisp.
Add chicken into the wok and season with soy sauce and salt.
Stir fry everything for a couple of minutes.
Add mustard greens and mix well with other ingredients. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes for the greens to wilted.
Add soaked rice into the wok. Stir fry until the rice is all heated through and all the liquid in the wok is absorbed, about 3 minutes.
Transfer the rice into a rice cooker bowl. Do this in two batches if the rice cooker is not big enough for the recipe.
Weigh the net rice if possible, and add boiling water in the weight of 30 percent of rice.
Cook in rice cooker.
Serve warm with pickled cucumber and shallots.

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16 Responses to “Mustard Cabbage with Chicken and Roast Pork Rice”

  1. 1

    Christine — February 16, 2011 @ 5:11 pm

    My mom made this often too! Are you happen to be from Medan/surrounding areas?

    • Jun replied: — February 18th, 2011 @ 1:52 am

      Yeah! I am actually still living in Medan. Are you?

  2. 2

    Gertrude — February 16, 2011 @ 7:02 pm

    My mom love making this rice too. We called it ‘Tua chai pui’ It has been a long time since I last had this. Now you make me want to cook this :)

    • Jun replied: — February 18th, 2011 @ 1:53 am

      We call it “Kua chai pui” as well. Wah we got so much in common, food wise!

  3. 3

    Karen at Globetrotter Diaries — February 16, 2011 @ 11:58 pm

    OO YUMMY! I love mustard greens, they’re so awesome (plain, pickled, salted…any way!). Great recipe and photos, it’s making me salivate.

    • Jun replied: — February 18th, 2011 @ 1:54 am

      Thank you, Karen!

  4. 4

    zenchef — February 17, 2011 @ 9:59 pm

    This looks so good, i was drooling all the way through just from looking at the photos. Everything looks so fresh and i love how the dish is finished in the rice cooker. I have to try that.

    • Jun replied: — February 18th, 2011 @ 1:55 am

      Usually we cook it in a steamer. That was the first time we use rice cooker. It is much easier. Trial and error on the water level though.

      Thanks for visiting!

  5. 5

    noobcook — February 17, 2011 @ 10:42 pm

    wah … my kind of dish… I definitely have to try this!

    • Jun replied: — February 18th, 2011 @ 1:55 am

      Thank you!

  6. 6

    Christine — February 18, 2011 @ 1:56 am

    No, I was from Jakarta (now residing in Seattle) but my mom was raised in Medan and born in Tj Balai.

    • Jun replied: — February 18th, 2011 @ 7:36 am

      We enjoy the same dishes then. :)

  7. 7

    Yohan — February 20, 2011 @ 4:22 am

    Hi Jun,
    The dish looked great! My grandmother used to make this too. Instead of chicken, she liked to add dried mussels (“orh kua”) to it. Not sure if you could get that easily, I know that she got her supplies from Singapore and occasionally Hong Kong.

    Here in Europe, the vegetable is known as “kay choy”. I guess that the Cantonese dialect for “kua chai”.

    I have made it a few times here and I found out that it is easier to use steamer than rice cooker. It’s very tricky with the amount of water for the rice cooker, when the water is not enough, the rice cooker will turn off pretty soon (and go directly to keep warm state) and the rice won’t be cooked properly. If too much, the rice will be mushy at the bottom.

    Btw, I enjoy much reading your blog. Well done! And thank you for all the nice recipes.

  8. 8

    Meri — March 6, 2011 @ 8:48 am

    Hi Jun, I have been following your blog for a while, and all the recipes are mouth-watering. This is one of my fav childhood dish, and still is! Tks for recipe. I guess most Medanese would enjoy this dish, very much!

  9. 9

    Jenz — March 8, 2011 @ 2:59 am

    wow, I love ‘kua chai pui’, I used to eat this at my aunt’s home in Medan years ago, and she called it ‘ke choi fan’ (in hakka dialect). Thanks for the recipe, will try this for sure. :)

  10. 10

    HGuin — July 3, 2013 @ 1:37 am

    I love your blog! please keep up the good work!

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