Salted Fish/Mei Cai Steamed Meat (咸鱼/梅菜蒸肉饼)



This is a rather classical type of Cantonese household dishes though it was also sold in classy restaurant.. Most Chinese granny will know how to prepare this dish that goes well with porridge or white rice. In this recipe, I had used both  mei cai and salted fish. However, you can choose either one or both.


I do not have a picture of mei cai that I used to show you. But it can be either be salty or sweet type of mei cai and both of which, you can easily get it in wet market. Whatever type being used, you will need to soak the mei cai for at least 1/2 hours, get rid of the excess salt or sugar used for the preservation and add back seasoning. The main purpose of this preserved vegetable is to provide some unique flavour to the dish.


Source of picture:

As per Wikipedia:

“Meigan cai (mei-kan tsai; simplified Chinese: 梅干菜; traditional Chinese: 霉乾菜; pinyin: méigān cài; Wade–Giles: mei2-kan1 ts’ai4; literally: “molded dried vegetable”; or mei cai (mei tsai; simplified Chinese: 梅菜; traditional Chinese: 霉菜; pinyin: méi cài; Wade–Giles:mei2 ts’ai4) is a type of dry pickled Chinese mustard of the Hakka people from Huizhou, Guangdong province, China. Meigan cai is also used in the cuisine of Shaoxing (绍兴), Zhejiang province, China. The pickle consists of a whole head of various varieties of Chinese mustards and cabbages (芥菜、油菜、白菜) that has undergone an elaborate process consisting of drying, steaming, and salting. The vegetables are harvested, trimmed before the Qingming Festival, and sun-dried until limp. It is then salted or brined, kneaded until the juices are exuded, and left to ferment in large clay urns for 15 to 20 days. The vegetable is then repeatedly steamed and dried until reddish brown in colour and highly fragrant. This pickled vegetable is used to flavor stewed dishes, in particular Meigan cai cooked with meat (梅菜扣肉/梅干菜烧肉)) or for Meigancaibaozi (梅菜菜包). Meigan cai was formerly a tribute item to the imperial palace in the Qing Dynasty.” (Source:


Another important ingredient of this recipe is salted fish and you can easily get it from the market. Salted fish can either be the softer, easily breakable moister type or the hard and dry type of salted fish. The first type (mei xiang) is preferred but the hard and dry type (shi rou) can also be steamed before it is used.

“Cantonese Salted Fish (simplified Chinese: 广东咸鱼; traditional Chinese: 廣東鹹魚; piyin: Guǎngdōngxiányú; also known as “Salted-fish, Chinese style”) is a traditional Chinesefood originated from the Guangdong province. It is a fish preserved or cured with salt, and a staple diet in Southern China. It historically earned the nickname of the “poor man’s food”, as its extreme saltiness way is useful in adding variety to the simpler rice-based dinners. More recently it has become a popular cuisine in its own right. Cantonese salted fishes can be divided into two styles: méi xiāng (梅香) and shí ròu(實肉). For méi xiāng (梅香) salted fish, fishes with thicker bodies like jiaoyu (鮫魚)、mayau (馬友)are preferred. It takes 7–8 days for méi xiāng (梅香) salted fish to ferment, then season with salt and dry in the sun. And they are usually chopped tiny and used as a topping.Furthermore, shí ròu(實肉) salted fish do not need fermentation, they are prepared by seasoning followed by direct drying by the sun. Fishes with thinner bodies such as Ilisha elongata (鰽白) are usually used to prepare shí ròu(實肉) salted fish. Unlike méi xiāng (梅香) salted fish, they can be served directly by frying or steaming. “ (Source:


Preparation of this dish is very easy at home. However, to be as soft as what the restaurant is selling will very much depends on the type of meat you used and starches are needed to smoothen the meat. Pardon me to say, soothing sand smooth steamed minced meat in the eating outlets are  actually prepared from higher fat content pork belly minced meat. In order to further smoothen the texture, corn starch is used and additional oil may be needed.


For this illustration, I have torn down significantly the mei cai and salted fish used because of my kids. However, it was properly adjusted in the ingredients list. You can used either mei cai or salted fish for the recipes. If you want to use both of these, your quantity of each of these two will have to be reduced by at least half.



Servings: 3-4 adult servings


  • 300 grams of minced meat (pork belly preferred)
  • 30 grams of salted fish  (50 grams if mei cai is not used)
  • 50 grams of mei cai , soaked (100 grams if salted fish is not used)
  • 2 tablespoons of corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon of cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon of Chinese cooking wine
  • 1 tablespoon of minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of light soya sauce
  • Pinches of salt (remember salted fish will flavour the dish)
  • Dashes of white pepper



PicMonkey Collage1

  • Lightly grease a plate suitable for steaming and get ready a pot of water suitable for steaming at least 15 minutes.

  • Put all the ingredients into a food processor. Blend until well mixed and as sticky as possible.  Transfer the minced meat into the greased plate. Press until firm and level it. Steamed under high heat for about 7-10 minutes or when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.



  • If you do not have a food processor, you can use hand to manually mixed the ingredients.

  • Water chestnuts can be used to improve the texture of the minced meat.

  • Timing of steaming will depends on how thick is your minced meat. For 7-10 minutes, it is about 2-3 cm thick.



There is no such a need to have both mei cai and salted fish. You can just used either one. Remember that if you want smooth and soothing steamed minced pork, pork belly will have to be used.  Do give it a try and let me know if this suits your taste buds.


Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have an nice day.






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