Chinese Food

Steamed minced pork with preserved vegetables (best Cantonese dish)

When people think of steamed dishes, they often think of fish. But if you are in the Cantonese region of China, you are more likely to think of steamed dishes made with pork or eggs. Also known as the “best Cantonese dish” among the Cantonese, minced pork is a popular choice.

If you want an authentic Cantonese meal, then I can’t think of a better dish than steamed minced pork with preserved vegetables (known as yu shen jiu 熟蒸鸡). This is a dish that has been popular for ages; the old proverb “the best things in life comes from the Canton” has its origins in this dish.

If you’re looking for a hearty meal that’s sure to give you the energy to tackle the day ahead, this steamed pork with preserved vegetables is just the thing. It’s packed with proteins, nutrients and taste to keep you full for hours. The sauce, or 滑頭湯 (huat tau tou), happens to be the most famous Cantonese dish, so if you can’t get enough of it, this dish is definitely for you.. Read more about steam minced pork with preserved vegetables and let us know what you think.

A no-frills Cantonese meal is steamed minced pork with preserved veggies. All you need are some simple spices, minced pork, and canned veggies.

It was a common homecooked meal throughout my youth, but I never tasted it after leaving home to pursue my education. My wife recently recommended that I make it again to reignite my affection for this long-forgotten taste.

The minced beef will ooze an abundance of gravy flavored by the preserved veggies after being cooked. Adults love the steaming pork, while children adore mixing the sauce with plain rice.

I use preserved veggies from Tianjin, which can be found in most Chinese supermarkets. It may be unpackaged or in plastic bags. If you’re not sure, show the storekeeper the picture below, which will guide you to the right preserved veggies. 

The words 天津冬菜 on the packaging means Tianjin preserved vegetables. Besides that, it is also called Tianjin winter vegetables, ‘tung tsai 冬菜, or Tianjin preserved cabbage. It is a type of pickled Chinese cabbage originating in Tianjin, China. It is also suitable for stir-fries, stewed dishes, and topping to flavor soups.

This is due to the fact that various kinds of preserved vegetables used in Chinese cuisine have distinct flavors.

Tianjin preserved veggies is what the phrases on the package imply. It is also known as Tianjin winter veggies, ‘tung tsai,’ or Tianjin preserved cabbage. It’s a Chinese cabbage that’s been pickled and comes from Tianjin. It’s also great in stir-fries, stewed meals, and as a soup topping.

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How to make preserved veggies with minced pork

1. Chop the meat into small pieces.

To make this meal, I use minced pork from the butcher. Some butchers will grind your meat on the spot, giving you the freedom to select whatever cut of pig you want and how much fat you want it to have.

For all steamed pork dishes, dim sum, and meatballs, I like to use 80 percent lean meat and 20 percent pig fat. Although lean meat is healthier on its own, lean pork on its own is excessively dry and is not advised.

If you are concerned about the quality of the pork and fat, you may purchase them separately and mince them at home. Alternatively, obtain the shoulder buttocks, which typically contain a good amount of fat. You may adjust the lean-to-fat ratio and the fineness of the minced pork this way. Pork should be chopped into brunoise (finest dice) rather than finely minced, in my view. It takes some time, but it offers you a chewy texture that you won’t get by manually mincing it with a meat grinder.

2. Soak the canned veggies in water.

The preserved veggies from Tianjin are salty. Because it may contain sand, you should wash it before using it. My technique for preparing it for cooking is as follows:

  • Calculate how much preserved veggies (dong cai) you’ll need. Depending on your preferences, the quantity may vary. In this recipe, I use 50 grams of dong cai for 350 grams of pork. (The proportion is 1:6)  
  • Because it’s salty, you’ll need to soak it in water to dilute it. Otherwise, mild soy sauce will be too salty to season the minced pork with Tianjin preserved veggies.
  • Remove it from the water after ten minutes and discard any that sink to the bottom since they may contain sand.
  • Squeeze out the excess water and give it a couple of hard chops.

Tianjin preserved vegetable (dong cai/tung tsai/天津冬菜) steamed with minced pork is a tasty and easy Chinese dish. It is a dish for a typical Cantonese family.

3. Toss the pork with the customary spices.

Because the preserved veggies have been soaked in water, I use a little quantity of light soy sauce to keep it from becoming overly salty. All of the other spices I use may be found in the kitchen pantry. Sesame oil, powdered white pepper, and Chinese wine are the ingredients. Because the preserved veggies have such a strong savory taste, I skipped the oyster sauce.

For the pork, you’ll also need cornstarch and water in addition to the preserved veggies. Cornstarch helps bond the liquid spices to the pork and makes it feel silkier in the tongue. After steaming, the addition of water allows it to create a sauce, which is delicious when mixed with plain rice.

Finally, I add some tiny dice of the scallion’s white part to the minced meat. After steaming, the goal is to make the beef patty less dense and more soft. To achieve the same texture for the beef patties as the scallion, you may also add tiny onion dice or water chestnut.

The minced beef does not need to be marinated.

After you’ve combined all of the ingredients, place them on a platter and smooth them out to make a beef patty. I like to steam my meals on a stainless steel plate, which is what most Cantonese households do. If you use a ceramic plate, steaming time will be somewhat longer.

4. Cook the meat in a steamer

The wok is used as a streaming station by the majority of traditional Chinese households. The water in the wok while steaming, on the other hand, may damage the patina that has developed on the wok’s surface, leading the wok to lose its non-stick properties. 

As a result, I recommend steaming in a separate wok and reserving your expensive, well-seasoned cast iron or carbon steel wok for stir-frying. You may, of course, buy a specialized steamer for the same purpose.

The steps are as follows:

  • In the wok, place a trivet, then add water until the level is just below the trivet.
  • Bring the water to a boil, covered.
  • Using a plate gripper, place the meat patty plate on the trivet.
  • Over medium heat, cover and steam for 10 minutes. (The precise time depends on the thickness of the patties and the amount of heat coming from the burner.) When the color of the pork changes, it’s done, and there’s a lot of gravy on the dish.

Finally, as a garnish, scatter some thinly sliced green scallion on top. Serve with a spoonful of mild soy sauce on top.

Tianjin preserved vegetable (dong cai/tung tsai/天津冬菜) steamed with minced pork is a tasty and easy Chinese dish. It is a dish for a typical Cantonese family.

Other preserved vegetable dishes to try

Here are a few more Chinese dishes using preserved veggies that I like.

The acidity of Zhenjiang vinegar, the sharpness of white pepper, and the nuttiness of sesame oil combine in this classic northern Chinese delicacy. The zha cai, a preserved vegetable used in the soup, is one of the distinctive components. The Tianjian preserved vegetable I use for the steamed pork has a distinct flavor.

The topping for this Chinese tofu consists of mushrooms, minced pork, and preserved veggies. This dish may be made with either dong cai or zha cai. It’s my version of a popular meal offered at a nearby restaurant.

20-minute prep time

Time to cook: 10 minutes

30 minutes in total


A list of ingredients

B Ingredients

  • 1 big tbsp scallion, thinly chopped green portion
  • 1 tsp soy sauce (mild)


  1. Two onion stalks should be cut into two sections: white and green. Both should be thinly sliced.
  2. For 10 minutes, soak the Tianjin preserved veggies in water. Any tiny bits that settle to the bottom should be removed and discarded.
  3. Squeeze out the excess water and give it a couple of hard chops.
  4. In A, carefully combine all of the ingredients. 
  5. Place the beef paste on a stainless steel plate and smooth it out to make a meat patty.
  6. Create a steaming station. Bring a pot of water to a boil, then steam the minced beef for ten minutes over medium heat.
  7. As a finishing touch, scatter some thinly sliced green scallion on top. Serve with a spoonful of mild sauce on top.


For steaming, the finest minced pork should include 80 percent lean meat and 20% fat.

Products to Consider

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Information about nutrition:



Size of Serving:

1 tbsp. per serving 447 calories 26 g total fat 9g Saturated Fat 0g trans fat 14g of unsaturated fat 154 milligrams of cholesterol 534mg sodium 4 g carbohydrate 1 gram of fiber 0 g sugar 47 g protein

Nutritionix supplied and computed this information on 8/26/2021.

Mince pork with preserved vegetables is one of the best Cantonese dishes for several reasons. First, it is one of the less commonly known dishes in the Cantonese repertoire. Second, it is truly one of the last universal dishes in the world. The meat is used in North Korea, the UK, the US, Pakistan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Macau, Hong Kong, Macau SAR, Macau SAR Province, China, Japan, Mongolia, Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, Switzerland, Belgium, Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, Andor. Read more about chinese steamed minced pork recipe and let us know what you think.

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