Cai fan

Cai fan
Cai fan (vegetable rice)

It's simple, hearty and a complete one-dish meal on its own.

Cai fan, which means vegetable rice in Mandarin, is a dish that Madam Sally Koh cooks often.

It is a back-to-basics comfort food for the 53-year-old cashier who learnt to cook the dish from her mother.

She says in Mandarin: "It reminds me of my childhood growing up in the kampung. I used to watch my mother prepare the dish and I learnt to cook it when I was nine years old. She cooked it very often and I learnt by watching.

"It is inexpensive and the ingredients are very ordinary. It is convenient to cook. There is no one fixed set of ingredients. It really depends on what you like and what is available." Madam Koh sometimes uses pork belly or chicken breast meat.

In my version of cai fan, I use pork shoulder meat which is neither overly lean nor fatty.

This is a dish perfect for those who want a home-cooked meal that is nutritious, easy to cook and economical.


This article was first published on May 31, 2015.
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