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Instant Pot Rice (番茄焖饭)

Menfan (焖饭) is a type of rice meal in which you cook the rice with abundant ingredients all at once. I call it the lazy recipe. Once you learn, it will change your life because it is so easy to make, no limitations on the ingredients, and everybody loves it.


  • 2 tbsp of oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 inch of ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp of oyster sauce
  • 1.5 tbsp of dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 2 cups of rice, rinsed and drained
  • 1.5 cups of water (if use regular rice cooker, use 2 cups of water instead. )
  • 300 grams of mixed vegetables (I used carrot, peas, and corns)
  • 1 big tomato
  • 100 grams of diced ham
  • 100 grams of sausage slices
  • 150 grams of marinade beef (Marinade with 1/8 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp of paprika, 1/4 tsp of garlic powder, black pepper tp taste, and 1 tsp of dark soy sauce. )


I am using an instant pot. If you don’t have one, you can use a rice cooker or a regular stock pot and cook it over the stove. I will talk about that as we cook.

Press the saute button on the instant pot. Drizzle in a couple of tbsp of oil and add the chopped garlic, ginger, and shallot. Stir for a few minutes or until fragrant.

Your rice cooker may have a different setting compared to mine. You just have to choose a similar one that allows you to saute the aromatics.

Add 2 tbsp of soy sauce, 1.5 tbsp of oyster sauce, and 1.5 tbsp of dark soy sauce. Keep stirring until the sauce is bubbling. Give it some time to caramelize. This is very important to build up the flavor.

Add the rice, which I have already rinsed under running water for about 30 seconds and drained completely. Stir thoroughly. Pour in 1.5 cups of water, 1/2 tsp of salt, then mix well.

Instant pot seals really well, so you don’t need that much water, but if you are using a rice cooker or you are cooking this in a stock pot over the stove, you will need 2 cups of water.

Use a pairing knife to cut a cross on the tomato and put it in the middle of the instant pot. This is very important. The tomato will turn soft so you can mix it into the rice and mingle everything together before serving.

Now you can put some of your favorite ingredients around the tomato. Although there is no limitation here, I like to use ingredients that don’t need too much prepping because it is a lazy recipe,

  • Peas, they are a perfect size so you don’t need to dice them.
  • Some golden corns, straight from the frozen bag without defrosting.
  • Some diced carrot. You don’t have to use exactly the same things that I used because this recipe mean to be versatile. We throw in potatoes, beans, mushrooms, broccoli, or cauliflower.
  • Some pre-diced ham – very convenient. Actually, in China, spam from a can is more classic but pre-diced so so much less work.
  • My homemade Sichuan spicy sausage. You can click here to get the recipe. I just sliced it diagonally. Other kinds of sausage will also work. As I said, no limitation.
  • Some beef slices. I Marinade it with salt, paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, dark soy sauce, and cornstarch. You can use other meat such ad chicken, pork, or shrimp. To save time, you should marinate the beef first so you can prep other ingredients while letting the meat sit.

When I am rushing my Menfan, I always use cured meats and rarely use fresh meat because you have to marinate it first before putting it into the pot. 

That’s it. So easy. Close the lid. Put the valve in the sealing position. Press the rice button, and the rest is just waiting. If you are cooking this dish in a stock pot over the stove. You have to turn the heat to high and bring the pot to a simmer, then turn the heat to low and let it cook for 20 minutes.

Remove the tomato skin. This dish has a unique name called 一个番茄饭, which means a tomato rice because the tomato binds everything together, and balances all the flavors. Look how beautiful that is?


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