This is one of my husband's all-time favourite dishes. It is a comfort food we grew up with, that we turn to on rainy days or days we just need that something extra to feel good. It's very hard to say no to that crispy burnt rice at the bottom of the pot (yum!) or the incredibly tasty and juicy meat and mushrooms. Eat it with cut chilli padi and spicy peanuts and anchovies, and it becomes absolutely mmmmm! The best part is, it's so easy to make!
It is possible to make this without a claypot if you don't have one, but using a rice cooker or a normal pot just doesn't seem to match the smoky taste you get with a claypot. Nowadays, buying a claypot is so easy. Most kitchenware stores sell them and you can also buy them online. And they're quite reasonably priced. They can be so versatile and frankly, some dishes just taste better made in a claypot.
Here's mine. It's just such a happy claypot, isn't it?! Always brings a smile to my face!
If you have just bought a claypot and are planning to use it the first time, please do remember that all claypots must be seasoned before using. Make sure you follow the directions on the box if you don't want your claypot to crack. There is a very good article on claypot seasoning and care in Chinese Soup Pot.
Do not subject your claypot to sudden temperature changes as this will cause it to crack. Always start it on low heat, then gradually turn up the heat. When washing your claypot, wait for it to cool down first.
With tender loving care, your claypot will make many delicious meals for many years.
This recipe is for 2 people, but you can double the ingredients if you wish to feed 4.
Claypot Chicken Rice
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Seasoning Time: 2 - 4 hours
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Wooden or silicon spatula (for stirring)
250 to 300gm chicken fillets (cut into bite size pieces)
one bunch of clean spinach leaves
a handful of dried mushrooms, prepared for cooking
a handful of dried lily flowers, prepared for cooking (optional)
20gm dried fish (optional)
1 to 2 Tbsp Vegetable oil
1 to 2 Tbsp Sesame oil
1 cup uncooked rice (long grain is preferable, but short-grain may also be used)
1 cup chicken broth (1 cup water + chicken stock to taste)
2 Tbsp mushroom water
1 sweet Chinese sausage (lap cheong), sliced (optional)
fresh ginger, thinly sliced
spring onion, sliced, for garnishing
1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 Tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 Tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 tsp dark soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp rice wine
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
Prepare dried mushrooms for cooking by soaking them in water for one hour, then squeeze gently to rid excess water and cut off stems. Keep 2 Tbsp of the water used for soaking the mushrooms.
Prepare dried lily flowers for cooking (optional) by soaking them in water for about 20 minutes to soften, then cut off both ends of the stem. Put the trimmed lily flowers into a fresh bowl of water to soak for another 40 minutes.
Prepare dried fish (optional) by soaking in hot water until soft, then pat dry, get rid of the bones if any, and shred into small pieces.
Put in all marinade ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Add chicken, prepared mushroom and lily flowers into the marinade and mix well. Leave aside for 2 to 4 hours.
Put claypot on stove at low heat and add in oil. Once oil is heated, add in prepared dried fish pieces and cook until the pieces are crispy and golden brown. Take the fish pieces out but leave the oil in the claypot. Add more oil if deemed necessary. Put fish aside.
When oil is hot, add in the uncooked rice and stir it about in the oil for a few minutes, until rice is a little browned. Add chicken broth and the mushroom soaked water. Increase heat to medium. Allow to boil, stirring a little at intervals. Once boiled, reduce heat to low, cover the claypot with the lid and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes. Don't be too concerned if you start to smell a slight burning smell as that is the rice at the bottom of the claypot getting crispy.
Lift the lid, add in the chicken marinade mixture and spread it evenly on the surface of the rice.
Lay the sliced ginger and fried dried fish on top of the chicken marinade mixture.
Pour a little sesame oil along the inner walls of the claypot. This will help the rice at the sides to crisp up.
Close the lid and let it cook for another 10 to 15 minutes.
Test the chicken for doneness. Chicken should be tender and cooked by this time. If not, cover the lid and check again at intervals of 2 minutes.
Place the spinach leaves into the claypot and cover with lid. Switch off the stove and leave for 10 minutes.
The claypot chicken rice should be ready to eat. Just stir it to mix everything together and scoop onto plates. Sprinkle some spring onions to garnish. Delicious with cut chilli padi and salted peanuts with anchovies!