Steamed Minced Pork in 4 Styles: Learn to cook this well-loved traditional home-cooked dish in 4 different styles with just one easy recipe! Your 'go-to' recipe to satisfy the different tastebuds in your family!

Steamed Minced Pork (Dong Cai / Mei Cai / Water Chestnut / Salted Fish)

Learn to cook Steamed Minced Pork (蒸猪肉), a well-loved traditional home-cooked dish in 4 different styles with just one easy recipe! Your 'go-to' dish to satisfy the different tastebuds in your family!

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword steamed minced pork
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 507 kcal
Author Bee Leng


INGREDIENTS (Portions are for making 4 flavours. If you are only doing 1 flavour, please reduce the quantity accordingly)

  • 1 kg Minced Meat To be divided into 4 portions
  • 6 tsp Corn Flour To be divided into 4 portions
  • 4 tsp Light Soy Sauce To be divided into 4 portions
  • 4 TBsp Oil To be divided into 4 portions
  • 2 tsp Sesame Oil To be divided into 4 portions
  • 280 ml Water To be divided into 4 portions
  • A pinch Salt For each of the 4 meat
  • A dash Pepper For each of the 4 meat.
  • 3-4 slices Ginger For the Salted Fish Version only


  • 100 gm Mei Cai 梅菜 (Preserved Chinese Mustard Green)
  • 100 gm Dong Cai 冬菜 (Pickled Chinese Cabbage)
  • 8-10 Water Chestnut
  • 50 gm Salted Fish


PREPARATION METHOD (45 min total time, 20 min active time)

  1. Wash the pork and mince it but not too finely. Divide the pork into 4 equal portions and place them in 4 bowls.

  2. Dong Cai Version: Wash the Dong Cai a few times to get rid of the sand if any. Squeeze it dry and chop coarsely, then add the Dong Cai to the first bowl of minced pork.

  3. Mei Cai Version: Wash the Mei Cai thoroughly, spreading the leaves out to make sure all sand and salt particles are removed. Soak for about 15mins. Squeeze out excess water and chop roughly, then add the Mei Cai to the second bowl.

  4. Water Chestnut Version: Use a brush to remove the mud of the water chestnuts. Cut off the top and the bottom of the chestnuts, and use a peeler to remove the skin. Wash and cut the water chestnuts into small squares, then add them into the third bowl

  5. Salted Fish Version: Rinse the salted fish and remove the bones if any and pat dry and set aside. Then remove the skin of the ginger and shred it thinly. (Do not add this to the fourth bowl, as we will be laying it on top later.)

  6. For each of the 4 bowls, add in 1 1/2 tsp of cornflour, 1 tsp light soya sauce, 1 TBsp oil, 1/2 tsp sesame oil, 70 ml of water, a pinch of salt and a dash of pepper. 

  7. Stir the meat mixture vigorously with chopsticks or with your hands until well incorporated and until the meat becomes sticky and dense.

  8. Transfer the 4 bowls of meat mixture into 4 separate steaming plates. Press the meat mixture firmly on the plate and level it evenly with the back of a spoon.

  9. For the 4th plate (Salted Fish Version), place the salted fish on top and add some shredded ginger over it.

  10. Let the meat mixture stand in the plates for about 30 mins before steaming so that the meat will be more solid and firm.


  1. In a wok, add in water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, place the plate on the steaming rack and cover the wok and steam for 15 mins over high heat. If you have a multilevel steamer, you can steam them all at one go, otherwise you have to do it one at a time.

  2. After steaming, the meat will shrink leaving a plate of gravy which goes very well with a bowl of hot steaming white rice. Best served hot.

Top Tips


  1. Use lean meat if you are health conscious but add a little more oil to the meat before steaming.
  2. Use Wu Hua Rou 五花肉  or Bu Jian Tian 不见天 for smoother and juicier patty. These are the same cuts of pork used to make Char Siew (Chinese BBQ Pork) as they contain just the right amount of fats to make the dish tender but not too greasy.
  3. Buy the 'Mui Heong' salted fish as the aroma from this type of fish really 'opens up your appetite' or as we say in Chinese 很开胃. It has a very soft texture and the fish is usually salted threadfin ( 'Ma Yau Yu' ) or salted mackerel ( 'Ma Kau Yu' ). For more info on local fish, read this article
  4. There are 2 types of Mei Cai :- Sweet Mei Cai and Salty Mei Cai. Both need to be soaked before chopping. The Salty Mei Chai needs longer soaking time. I personally prefer the salty one as I generally prefer not to mix sweet with savoury flavours together. 
  5. Get Dong Cai and Mei Cai at the dry provisions shop in the wet markets, or in the supermarkets.



  1. Be careful not to oversoak the Mei Chai or it will lose its pickled flavouring.
  2. Ensure that you mix the meat mixture until it becomes dense and sticky. You can also pick the meat up with your hand and slam it back into the bowl a few times so that the meat will bind better.
  3. Set the meat aside for about 30 mins after mixing all the ingredients to firm up the meat, so the steamed meat will be in one solid piece and won't break up easily after steaming.
  4. Moderate the saltiness of the salted fish version accordingly as some salted fish is extremely salty and you will need to reduce the amount of salt and light soya sauce. Add a little more salt to the water chestnut version.
  5. Do not smash the water chestnuts. Just cut it into small cubes otherwise it will lose its crunchiness.
  6. The spread of the meat mixture should not be too thin or it will fall apart easily and there is no substance when you sink your teeth into it. It should be a least 2 cm thick when place firmly on the plate (Do not use an oversized plate)
  7. Add ginger for the salted fish version to mask the fishy smell. A little Chinese wine can be added to the meat before steaming if you prefer


  1. You can also steam the minced meat with dried cuttlefish.
    1. Firstly, you need to blanch cuttlefish with hot water, remove the backbone, the mouth and the eyes of the cuttlefish. Wash it and cut it into small pieces and soak it with some hot water and 1 TBsp of Hua Diao Jiu for half an hour before adding it to the minced meat and mix well. It is very flavorful and umami in taste.