One of my favourite recipes is for a really easy Chinese dish. I remember my mother making it for us after working at the bank. I love anything curried but it wasn’t until I was a student that I realized how simple this meal was to make. Now, as a working parent myself, I find myself resorting to this hand me down recipe for Ki Si Min. I know you will love this dish as much as I do. There are many ways to vary it – I found this out as a student when forced to make do with what was in the cupboard. Here is my standard recipe for Ki Si Min:

Preparation – 15min
Cook – 30min
Ready – 45min>


  • 500g mince (any)
  • 2 onions, diced
  • Half a green cabbage, shredded
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. sunflower/virgin oil
  • 1.5 cups of rice (any)
  • Salt/pepper/herbs – my favourite is fresh coriander chopped
  • 1 tbsp. curry powder (or similar mix)
  • 1 x 45 g packet chicken noodle dry soup mix added to 6-7 cups boiling water (I use a can and omit the water) or use a stock cube with liquid
  • Optional – carrot, grated and/or peas; peppers, chopped, 1-2 chili chopped or fine green beans chopped and/or instead of the rice.


  1. Heat oil, fry onion and garlic with seasoning. Add mince and brown.
  2. Add soup mix with liquid and continue cooking mince and onions. Add rice.
  3. Add other optional vegetables at this point.
  4. Add curry powder.
  5. Lastly, add the shredded cabbage.
  6. Cook until cabbage is ready, within 10 minutes depending on taste, (I don’t like my cabbage soft, does anyone?)
  7. Dish into bowls and garnish with chopped coriander or parsley. Serve with prawn crackers/pita bread.
    When serving this dish, it was always fun to use chopsticks and authentic Chinese bowls.

Every time I eat the Ki Si Min dish, I remember my childhood in Australia. Both my parents worked hard and as kids hardly saw them but we always sat down for our evening meal together. In those days, no talking was allowed – changed days, as I encouraged my children to speak at the table, to catch up on the daily activities. We continued following the good manners of not talking with your mouth full (for fear of choking) and remembering asking to leave the table.

My daughter was a fussy eater and used to hide her food under the lines of the cutlery put together signifying the end of the course. She became clever? Cunning, perhaps, at keeping mouthfuls of food (usually fish dishes) in her cheeks like squirrels hoarding their acorns before hiding them, we soon discovered ways of adding fish to her diet but, to this day, she prefers not to eat fish. That was from a time where my husband was unemployed and spent a lot of time fishing. We ate well, mostly on fish but on one occasion, he returned with no fish, six potatoes, a rabbit and a pheasant. Apparently, he had crossed a tattie field to go fishing near the River Clyde, failed to tempt the fish and on returning to the car, helped himself to six potatoes. (I apologise to the farmer, but needs must.) Driving back to Edinburgh, he stopped to collect the dead rabbit and again, a pheasant from roadkill. We never ate so well. Thankfully, my husband was brought up on a farm and had no problem preparing the animals thinking at least their deaths are not been wasted. He made a rabbit and pheasant stew served with mashed potatoes and made an even cheaper alternative to Ki Si Min.

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