Shanghai Rice with Green Cabbage and Chinese Ham | Hong Kong Food Blog with Recipes, Cooking Tips mostly of Chinese and Asian styles | Taste Hong Kong

Shanghai Rice with Green Cabbage and Chinese Ham

Shanghainese Rice with Green Cabbage and Chinese Ham 上海菜飯

If you have ever enjoyed Shanghai cuisine, I bet you should have tried this. I mean even you didn’t order it purposely; it would fill your table as a default companion to the set lunch or set dinner served by the restaurants.

I understand quality Chinese ham is getting more and more pricey, so I won’t be surprised not seeing an enough amount of it when eating out this 上海菜飯 aka Shanghai Vegetable Rice with this and this as set meals.

Good thing is, we may easily set our homemade version apart from them. About a spoonful of ham is enough to fill two bowls of steamed rice with mellow richness of cured pork and pleasant oiliness. And, instead of using stock or flavoring agents, you may simply reserve the sauce obtained from simmering the cabbage and ham for cooking with rice.

Shanghainese Rice with Green Cabbage and Chinese Ham 上海菜飯

I’m glad that the green cabbage 小棠菜, though native to Shanghai and nick-named as Shanghai cabbage, are available here most of the time. If you don’t mind toning down the Shanghainese character of this dish, I would say using bok choy is a convenient and nice alternative.

With a rice cooker, cooking this is a little more than mixing of briefly sautéed vegetable and ham into the steamed rice. In case you don’t own one, no worries, you may simply steam the rice as this recipe does.

  • Ingredients
  • 100g white rice, I used jasmine rice
  • ~150g Chinese green cabbage,
  • 1 heaping tbsp of finely sliced Chinese Jim Hwa ham 金華火腿
  • ~2 tsp cooking oil
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • yields 2-3 bowls cooked rice

Shanghai Green Cabbage


Pull or cut apart each leave from green cabbage, wash thoroughly. I usually soak vegetables in a basin of water for half an hour before washing. Drain dry.

Cut leaves crosswise into thick strips (cut wide stems lengthwise into two before cutting crosswise), about nail size.

Slice ham thinly, again about nail size. Scald the ham briefly would make slicing easier and remove unpleasant smell, if any.

Rinse rice and change the water a couple of times until the water becomes clear. Soak the rice, if required, according to package.

Heat pan with 2 teaspoons of oil over medium heat, briefly sauté ham until fragrant. Then toss in green cabbage and stir well. Add sugar and about 1/4 cup water and simmer for about a minute. Add salt, mix well. Dish up but reserve the sauce.

In a steam proof dish, add water and reserved sauce to rice (water+sauce : rice = 1.1 : 1). Steam over medium heat for 15 minutes, uncover, fluff rice and mix in sautéed green cabbage and ham. Cover, and steam for another 5 minutes.

Serve hot, enjoy!

Shanghainese Rice with Green Cabbage and Chinese Ham 上海菜飯

Bok choy may leach more water than green cabbage when being cooked. So you may want to reduce the water by half (from 1/4 to 1/8 cup) for simmering bok choy.

To get immediate updates and new recipes from my blog, you may also SUBSCRIBE them via RSS feeds. See you there.


Thank you for visiting, I would love to hear from you as much as I love to put up posts here ...
  1. Acorn

    Thank you so much for sharing all your recipes. They are an inspiration and I look forward to seeing all of your posts.

  2. Juliana

    Such a n easy and tasty rice dish…love the color and the flavor combined.
    Hope you are having a great week 🙂

  3. Asmita

    What a tasty and easy recipe. Love the colors and flavors. Absolutely delicious!!!

  4. Stephanie

    That’s a great idea to save the liquid from the cabbage and ham to cook with the rice!!

  5. TasteHongKong

    With this little step, the rice takes up more flavors. Enjoy!

  6. Daisy@Nevertoosweet

    This is great!!! I always look forward to eating Shanghai rice with green cabbage 😉 I’m not really a fan of rice but this is one of my favourites ways to eat it 😀 Thanks for sharing this fantastic recipe~

  7. Christine's Recipes

    Your shanghai rice looks so yummy with the green and chinese ham. It’s one of my favourite comfort dish in winter. My mother used to cook this kind of one pot dish for our lunch. 🙂

  8. lena

    i like the simplicity of this dish..yet i believe it’s tasty and flavourful with the chinese ham and the sauce.

  9. Von

    Surprisingly, I’ve never had this at a shanghainese restaurant! (though that may be partly because I haven’t been to that many shanghainese restaurants…). It looks delicious though- and definitely much more interesting than plain rice!!

  10. TasteHongKong

    Apparently I have made a wrong bet! Anyway, hope you shall soon enjoy this : ).

  11. tigerfish

    This 小棠菜 is new to me. Looking at the raw ingredient photo – I thought it looks like Bok Choy. I don’t think I have seen 小棠菜 in the Asian supermarkets here in the US.

    Back to this rice, I was never served this rice as a default companion in set meals when I was in Shanghai last yr. Hmmm….

  12. noobcook

    this looks like a perfect rice-cooker dish for a busy day. and I like that it is packed with wholesome Chinese greens.

  13. Angie@Angie's Recipes

    A homey and tasty rice dish. I love 小棠菜, esp. when stir-fried with garlic.

  14. TasteHongKong

    Bok choy has a higher water content than 小棠菜. That is why lesser amount of water is required for simmering bok choy.
    Hmmm … aren’t we being spoiled in H.K…. or as I said, mine was a wrong bet : )!

  15. Mary Moh

    I sure love this…all in a bowl. A great one for busy days and also a great one to sit in front of the TV 😀

  16. passing by

    I love your recipe. Can you show us how to make cantonese style chili oil?

  17. Lori

    Such simplicity in this dish. It’s the exact kind of thing I’m hoping to make more of a staple in our kitchen. It looks delicious!

  18. TasteHongKong

    @passing by,
    Thanks! I have been pondering the type of chili oil you referred to. Although I might not have the one you want, there is another chili oil or sauce – XO Sauce – I’d recommend you to try. Like I said in that recent post, XO sauce is actually a chili sauce and you may also cook it with more oil to yield a flavored chili oil.
    Enjoy, and excuse me for this long delayed reply.