Steamed Pumpkin Rice

Food stylist, writer and cook Shu Han Lee shares four recipes from her first cookbook Chicken and Rice (Fig Tree, Penguin Books), which combines the best of Southeast Asian with British seasonal ingredients

Posted on Mar. 3, 2017
By Editor

Steamed Pumpkin Rice
Prep 20 mins • Cook 1 hour 10 min (including 30 min soak time for mushrooms) • Serves 2

This is a dish that’s quite unique to the Hokkien Chinese from the Singapore  and Penang regions. I have only had this at home – thanks to my Hokkien mum – and have never seen it served in a restaurant. On first glance, it looks like a variation of fried rice, but steamed pumpkin rice is a different thing. Rather like a pilaf, the rice is cooked in a seasoned broth. As it steams, it gently absorbs the sweetness of the pumpkin, the aroma of the garlic, and the savouriness of the shrimps and shiitake mushrooms. What results is rice that’s very light yet flavourful. 



  • 3 tbsp dried shrimps
    1 large handful of shiitake mushrooms
    6 cloves of garlic
    300g pumpkin (a sweet firm one like Crown Prince, 
    kabocha, or a butternut squash is good)
    1 tbsp lard or groundnut oil
    185g jasmine rice, rinsed and drained
    2 tsp soy sauce
    ¼ tsp white pepper
    ¼ tsp sesame oil


Step 1

Soak the dried shrimps in an equal amount of warm water and the shiitake mushrooms in 60ml of warm water – about 10 mins for the shrimps and 30 mins for the mushrooms. Drain, but reserve the soaking liquid – this will form the stock for the rice. When the mushrooms are soft, drain, squeezing any juices back into the bowl, and slice thinly.

Step 2

Finely chop the garlic. Dice the pumpkin into roughly 2cm chunks.

Step 3

Heat the lard or oil in a medium-hot wok. Add the shrimps, mushrooms and garlic and stir-fry for a min, until fragrant. Add the diced pumpkin and stir-fry for a couple more mins. Finally, add the jasmine rice and lightly fry until well mixed with the rest of the ingredients and coated with the fat.

Step 4

Season with the soy sauce, white pepper and sesame oil, stir-fry for a few more secs, then transfer everything to a rice cooker, along with 235ml of water and the soaking liquid, and simply let the rice cooker do its magic. Once cooked, leave covered for a further 5 mins before fluffing up and serving.

Recipe: Lee Shu Han
Photograph: Fig Tree, Penguin Books

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