Pen Cai 盆菜
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: 4
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 pc white radish, approximately 400-500g cut into pieces
  • 5 pcs fresh prawns (trim away the feeders and make a slit on the shells on both sides to remove the thread of dirt but leaving the shells intact)
  • 5 pcs fresh scallops
  • 5 pcs Chinese mushrooms (soaked in water until soft and drained)
  • 5 pcs dried scallops
  • 1 pc fish maw (soaked in water overnight until soft and drained before cutting into pieces)
  • 1 pc sea cucumber, cut into pieces
  • 1 can abalone, thinly sliced (reserve the abalone brine in the can)
  • few pcs of pacific clams
  • some roast pork (recipe can be found here)
  • some roasted duck (recipe can be found here)
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 litre chicken stock (can be store bought or home made)

For the Seasoning:
  • 1 tsp oyster sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp dark soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp hua diao wine
  • dash of pepper
  1. Heat up 1 tbsp of cooking oil and add the minced garlic and ginger. Stir fried briefly.
  2. Add in the sliced onions followed by half of the chicken stock till it starts to boil.
  3. Add in the dried scallops, sea cucumber, fish maw and radish before adding the remaining stock.
  4. Add in the seasoning ingredients except the hua tiao wine, keep stirring to prevent the ingredients from sticking to the bottom of the casserole.
  5. Add in the softened Chinese mushrooms and continue stirring.
  6. When the broth has reduced in volume around 15 to 20 minutes later, add in the brine from the can of abalone.
  7. Remove the sea cucumber once it has softened and set aside. If the sea cucumber is cooked for too long, it will disintegrate till nothing. Taste and adjust with slightly more water or stock if necessary. Continue cooking for another 10 minutes.
  8. Add in the fresh prawns and fresh scallops. Continue stirring for around 10 minutes till the prawns and scallops are cooked.
  9. Add in the roast pork and roast duck, followed by the huatiao wine. Stir to mix well and off the flame.
  10. Arrange the white radish at the bottom of the casserole and the rest of the ingredients on top, including the sliced abalone. Pour the hot gravy over and serve.
1) Sea cucumber should be removed from the broth once softened to prevent it from disintegration if being cooked for too long.
2) If a casserole is used, keep stirring to prevent the ingredients from sticking to the bottom of the pot, which will often happen after the fish maw start to "disintegrate".Adding the stock and abalone brine at different stages help to prevent this as well.
3) If store bought chicken stock is used which can be slightly saltier, adjust with some water accordingly after taste.
4) The step of adding the roast pork and duck into the broth is optional. I included that as I wanted the meat to absorb the flavours of the broth as well. Otherwise, you can just arrange it as per they are in the pen cai at the end of it.
Recipe by Eat What Tonight at