Chicken rice in clay pot is unique, not just because it is cooked in a special crockery, but is the flavor and aroma that make it so enticing and delectable.
Clay pot might be considered as an exotic cooking crockery for non-Asian, but it is the traditional kitchenware for people who lives in Southern China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia.
If you are always squeamish about street foods, chicken rice in clay pot will catch your attention. Watch the video demonstration to understand the entire cooking process and print out the recipe below. Cook a pot of rice and have a feast at your comfy home.
You may wonder what is the importance of using a clay pot to cook. Can’t I just cook it in an electric rice cooker?
Yes, certainly. However, the rice will lack the signature aroma if cooked with a clay pot, mainly as the result of the nicely crispy rice formed at the bottom. One mouthful of this rice will melt your heart with the unmistakable clay pot aroma.
Chicken rice in clay pot is known as 煲仔饭 or 瓦煲鸡饭 in Chinese. There are many version of this dish, which is quite natural as rice dishes are part of the rich heritage of food culture. However, I especially like the delicate balance of taste derived from the Chinese sausage and bone-in chicken enhanced by the salted fish, which is popular among the Malaysian Chinese.
Chicken rice in clay pot is the ultimate comfort food that brings in queues at coffee shops and eateries in Malaysia. It is a quick, one-pot meal which is so common that some stores are just surviving on selling it alone.
Malaysia has a ubiquity of food stores in the city. If you visit any of these stores, you will notice that the hawker use a small clay pot to cook the rice. He will add the marinated chicken, Chinese sausage, and salted fish on the rice and finish with a drizzle of the flavorful seasoning. It just takes ten minutes to cook to perfection to make this and endless pot of comfort food.
Cook the rice and other ingredients together
When you scoop the steaming hot rice from the pot, you will smell the delectable fragrance of the Chinese sausage intertwined with the aroma of salted fish. I always like to eat it directly from the pot, as it is warm, comforting and satisfying to have the whole pot to yourself. The clay pot also helps to keep the rice warm for an extended time. The perfect chicken rice in clay pot has a great flavor of all the ingredient plus the nice crispy rice at the bottom.
You can use any ingredients to prepare chicken rice in clay pot, but it is mandatory to use Chinese sausage to get the authentic taste of the Malaysian version. You may want to add some soaked Chinese mushrooms and salted fish for additional flavor.
Can you recreate this one-pot meal at home?
Absolutely! It is a straightforward and quick to prepare one pot meal. Chicken rice is best as a stand-alone simple meal and can be elevated to a weeknight delight. Whatever it is, the amazing flavor will keep you asking for more.
Traditionally, chicken rice in clay pot is cooked over charcoal to infuse the unique charcoal aroma. Nowadays most of us use either electric or gas stove at home. If you want to cook chicken rice, all you need is a clay pot and some simple ingredients, or you can use the electric rice cooker to accomplish the job.
I use a traditional clay pot to cook in this recipe. So let’s dive in and see how to make this at home.
Watch this video and learn how to cook chicken rice in a clay pot (2.45 minutes)
- 300g of rice (washed until water runs clear)
- 420ml of water
- 500g of chicken (bone-in, cut into 4cm pieces)
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
- ¼ teaspoon of dark soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon of ground white pepper
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of cornflour
- 1 tablespoon of finely chopped ginger
- 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
- ½ tablespoon of dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
- 1½ tablespoons of Shaoxing wine
- 2 tablespoons of water
- 1 Chinese sausages (cut into thin slices)
- 1 teaspoon of boneless salted fish (optional)
- 2 medium size Chinese mushroom
- Spring onion to garnish
- Soak the dry Chinese mushroom in warm water for 20 minutes. Cut it into long, thin slices. Set aside.
- Cut the Chinese sausage into thin slices.
- Mix all the ingredients in B together in a bowl. Marinate for one hour in the refrigerator.
- Mix all the ingredients in C together.to make the sauce.
- Rinse the rice a few times until the water runs clear. Drain and transfer it into the clay pot.
- Add water into the rice.
- Simmer the rice over low heat with the lid on for 10 minutes.
- Spread the marinated chicken, salted fish (optional), and Chinese mushroom evenly on the surface of the rice.
- Drizzle the sauce on it and cover.
- Simmer over low heat for another 10 minutes.
- Garnish with spring onions and serve.
7 Tips to cook the perfect chicken rice in clay pot
Don't be overawed by the long list of ingredients. The method of cooking is quite simple and with a wide margin of error. The success of making the chicken rice in clay pot is underpinned by just a few simple steps as below:
- The amount of water I used to cook the rice in this recipe is 300g of rice (dry, before rinsing) with 420g of water. When I cook plain rice, I normally adhere to the washed rice to water ratio of 1:1.7. However, the sauce and the chicken will release some water into the rice and therefor, less water is used in this recipe.
- Cook the rice over very low heat to avoid over-charring the rice at the bottom of the clay pot.
- One of the critical steps is to time it so that all the ingredients are just finish cooking at the same time. Since the required cooking time of rice, chicken and Chinese sausage are different; you need to half cook the chicken first, follow by adding the chicken and then the Chinese sausage later.
- Half cooked the rice before adding the chicken share the similar concept to prepare biryani rice. You need to boil the rice in a pot of salted water (like cooking pasta) first for biryani rice. The semi-cooked rice is the base ingredient at the bottom of the pot with other ingredients stacking over it (like pizza) before cooking over low heat
- Ask the butcher to chop the chicken into 4cm pieces. You can use chicken drumsticks, thigh, or wings, but make sure do not remove the bone as it will impart additional flavor to the rice during cooking. Chicken breast is not the best option as it is tough and does no have attached bone that can contribute additional flavor to the rice.
- You can cook chicken rice in a rice cooker. It is easier than using the clay pot because you do not have to adjust the heat of the stove and worry about over-charring the rice. However, the rice lacks the classic clay pot aroma.
- If you are using an electric or induction stove, transfer the clay pot to another burner with lower heat if it is too hot.
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