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An easy 5-star hotel chinese pumpkin rice recipe adapted from a shang-ri la recipe to make it suitable for weekday dinners (the soup and rice make it a balanced meal): (fun fact) shang-ri la singapore's chinese restaurant has a michelin star!
My Mom is a huge fan of soupy dishes so besides, this easy hotel Chinese pumpkin rice recipe- which can be made into poached rice or congee, you're probably going to see many, many porridge/ poached rice/ pao fan/ noodle soup recipes on this blog, such as this warming ginger chicken soup (made with coconut water!), this leftover roast chicken porridge and this Singapore Hainanese Chicken Porridge.
why does this pumpkin rice look so soupy?
Poached rice is a popular Singaporean dish which is basically rice in soup. If you're not very familiar with Chinese cooking, ir can seem very similar to rice porridge or even congee but trust me they're really different! (It's all to do with the texture of the rice) Whilst a pumpkin rice porridge would have more of a goopy texture, this poached rice is more like rice in a watery pumpkin soup- you should still be able to feel each individual rice grain.
why add pumpkin to your poached rice?
This Chinese pumpkin recipe is one that I adapted from a Shangri- La Hotel Shang Palace recipe to make it suitable for weekday dinners. (In case you're not familiar with Shangri-La, it's an Asian chain of luxury hotels, and the 1 in Singapore received a Michelin-star at its Chinese restaurant.)
The pumpkin gives the rice a beautiful golden hue and makes it look especially appetising, as well as bulking up the poached rice, so it's healthier! Usually people get hungry quite soon after eating rice in soup but the thickness of this pumpkin poached rice means that you stay full for quite some time.
This Chinese pumpkin recipe is also great for Chinese New Year as gold is considered a lucky colour: it symbolises getting lots of gold (money!) in the coming year. In fact, some people feel it's a must to have pumpkin on their CNY table- click here to find out why as well as for more Chinese pumpkin recipes.
Chinese vs japanese (kabocha)?
The original Shang-ri La Chinese pumpkin recipe calls for Japanese pumpkins (kabocha) but I've substituted them with regular pumpkins when unable to get the former. Both work well in the porridge.
what to do with the rest of the japanese pumpkin?
Even if you buy a Japanese pumpkin, you'll probably have some leftover if you're cooking this porridge for only 3-4 people- not to mention a regular pumpkin which is so much bigger- so why not use the rest in this assam fish curry? Alternatively, you can use the rest of the pumpkin puree (homemade or store-bought) in these easy Chinese steamed buns (mantous). To make the mantou buns even fancier, you can use the excess pumpkin puree to colour alternate rolls of the bread to form pretty spiral mantous.
can i use pumpkin puree?
Yes, if you're pressed for time, or simply want to finish up your extra pumpkin puree, simply skip the step where you steam and mash the pumpkin and substitute with pumpkin puree instead.
changes to the original hotel recipe
The original Shangri-La Hotel kabocha poached rice recipe calls for chicken stock powder, but I prefer to use natural ingredients in my cooking, so I substituted the chicken bouillon powder with sugar and light soya sauce. (Most vintage Singaporean cookbooks use MSG but my Uncle, who was Perankan and a fantastic home cook, always used sugar whenever recipes called for MSG.)
I also pared down the steps and ingredients to the basics to make it more accessible for weekday dinner cooking- for example, the original calls for crabmeat, but crabs aren't really an everyday ingredient so I always make this Japanese pumpkin porridge without it- don't worry, the chicken stock, seasoning and dried scallops make it sufficiently tasty!
You can add the crabs on special occasions as well as other types of seafood, such as fresh scallops, prawns and abalone- I add them to the broth when I add the fish (i.e. in the 2nd last stage of cooking- add the ones that take longer to cook first and the ones that cook the quickest last).
Easy hotel Chinese pumpkin rice recipe (with soup and fish)
- 80 g Thai jasmine rice This makes about 5 (Chinese) bowls of porridge, so I've indicated it as serving 2 people but of course it depends on how much you eat!
- 2 dried scallops (conpoy)
- 4 cups chicken stock Add more chicken stock/ water if you feel the porridge is too thick
- 350 g pumpkin (kabocha), cubed You can substitute this with store-bought pumpkin puree to make cooking quicker- you can then skip the steaming and mashing in this case.
- 250 g garoupa fillet You can substitute with other types of white fish
- 1 spring onion, chopped Optional Garnish
- ½ teaspoon Salt Or to taste
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon light soya sauce Use tamari if on a GF diet
- ½ tablespoon Cornflour
- ½ tablespoon Chinese shaoxing wine
- Cook rice as per normal in a rice cooker.
- Whilst rice is cooking, rinse then soak dried scallops in about ½ Cup of hot water to help them soften (covered).
- Marinate the fish fillets with the salt, cornflour sugar and light soy sauce. After marinating for 30 minutes (in the fridge), slice the fish thinly and set aside.
- Steam the pumpkin till soft then mash it up with a fork. (You could also skip the arm workout and blitz it in the blender.) Alternatively, you can microwave the pumpkin (with a bit of water) till it becomes soft - about 5 minutes at 800W. If you're pressed for time or have pumpkin puree to use up, you can substitute the steamed and mashed pumpkin for pumpkin puree.
- Bring the chicken stock to the boil, add the dried scallops and allow to boil for a few minutes, then add the pumpkin to the stock and lower the heat to a simmer. Stir till well-mixed then add the shaoxing wine. Taste and season with salt if necessary. (If you are using unsalted homemade chicken stock, salting is crucial here.)
- Bring back to the boil then add the rice and fish (and other seafood if using), simmer till cooked. (If making pumpkin rice in soup, add the fish and seafood only, not the rice! See below for more instructions.)
- Garnish with spring onions before serving.
For pumpkin poached rice
- Once the fish is cooked cooked, add the rice to warm it through then switch off the heat.
- Garnish with spring onions before serving.
If you try this easy hotel Chinese pumpkin rice recipe (with soup and fish- a complete meal really!), let me know what you think in the comments or tag me @greedygirlgourmet on Instagram.