This Chinese pumpkin rice has been a regular on our family dinning table ever since I was little. As both of my parents were working, our dinner preparation is always quick and simple and one-pot dishes like this is common. I’m making this rice on the stovetop but you can easily make it in a rice cooker, I have indicated the instructions in the recipe below.
We called this type of one-pot dish 咸饭 in Chinese or kiam png in Hokkien, which literally translates to savoury rice. This dish can be cooked in the rice cooker or on the stovetop. The general ingredients used are rice, aromatics (such as onion and garlic), vegetables (such as pumpkin, mushrooms, long bean, cabbage), meat (such as pork, salted fish, Chinese sausage), and seasoned with soy sauce, fish sauce, oyster sauce, white pepper, sesame oil and etc.
Pumpkin is considered a winter squash and features an earthy sweet flavour. Pumpkins are so versatile it can be used to make savoury dishes, pasta, soups, curries, as well as drinks, cakes, cookies, pies, and etc.
The most popular season for pumpkins are generally around September to November but pumpkins from China and Thailand are available all year round.
What are the health benefits of pumpkin?
Pumpkin is not only delicious, it’s relatively low in calories and very rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which may boost immune system, promote skin health, heart health, good eyesight, weight loss, just to name a few. It’s high antioxidant content may reduce risk of chronic diseases.
Things to note when cooking pumpkin rice
- I used basmati rice in this recipe as it’s a much healthier type of rice. Basmati rice is recognised as a whole grain, containing almost three times more fibre and significantly more protein than white rice. The fibre in basmati rice is soluble, therefore it helps move waste along the digestive tract. You can also use other types of rice as you prefer.
- Chop the pumpkin into larger pieces as pumpkin becomes very soft after cooking. If it’s cut into too small a size, it’ll be all mashed up once you fluff the rice.
- Add the pumpkin pieces in the last step after adding the water for similar reason above. You don’t want to cook it for too long in case it becomes too soft and becomes all mashed up after fluffing the rice.
- You can replace the Chinese sausage with other types of meat, such bacon or even fish. For vegetarian version, simply omit the Chinese sausage and dried shrimps, and replace the onion and garlic with celery or fennel.
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Watch how to make pumpkin rice on YouTube
Pumpkin Rice 金瓜饭 (Stovetop)
- 500 g pumpkin
- 4 shiitake mushrooms fresh or dried
- 2 cups rice I used basmati rice
- ½ onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 50 g dried shrimps
- 3 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 Chinese sausage
- 2-3 cups water for cooking rice and soaking the dried shrimps
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- ¼ tsp white pepper
- Rinse 2 cups of rice a few times until the water runs clear.Note: I rinsed the basmatic rice about 5-6 times.2 cups rice
- Soak 50g dried shrimps in warm water until softened. This takes about 20-30 minutes. Then pat dry and finely mince the dried shrimps.50 g dried shrimps
- Rinse and pat dry 4 Shiitake mushrooms. Trim off the stem of the mushrooms and dice.Note: if you are using dried mushrooms, soak them in warm water until softened before cutting it.4 shiitake mushrooms
- Slice onion and mince garlic.1/2 onion, 4 cloves garlic
- Slice 1 Chinese sausage thinly. Note: You can remove the skin of the Chinese sausage by simply peeling it off after slicing it. This is optional.1 Chinese sausage
- Peel the skin off 500g pumpkin. Remove the seeds. Wash and pat dry. Cut into large chucks (about 2-3cm thickness).500 g pumpkin
- In a stainless steel heavy base pot over medium heat, warm 3 tbsp sesame oil. Add onion, garlic, and dried shrimps and sauté until the aroma is released.3 tbsp sesame oil
- Add Chinese sausage, Shiitake mushrooms and all the seasoning (1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp fish sauce, 2 tbsp oyster sauce, 1/4 tsp white pepper. Stir fry for about 30 seconds.1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp fish sauce, 2 tbsp oyster sauce, 1/4 tsp white pepper
- Add 2 cups of rice and continue to stir fry to mix well with the ingredients. This takes about 45 seconds.
- Add 2.5 cups water. Make sure the ingredients are evenly spread out in the pot. Note: if you are using a rice cooker, transfer the ingredients and the water into a rice cooker and cook according to the rice cooker's instructions.2-3 cups water
- Layer the pumpkin pieces over the rice and spread them evenly, pressing a little to ensure they are mostly submerged in the water. Cover and cook on the stovetop on high heat.Once it boils, reduce to simmering heat and keep it covered.Once you can no longer see any water bubbling, turn off the heat. Note: The cooking time on the stovetop takes about 10-15 minutes.
- Keep the pot covered for at least another 15-30 minutes. Then fluff the rice and serve warm.