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How to cook the best chicken clay pot rice

Chicken rice in a clay pot is unique, not just because it is cooked in special crockery, but is the flavor and aroma that make it so enticing and delectable.

Chinese Clay pot rice 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 uses a small clay pot for cooking the rice. He will add the marinated chicken, Chinese sausage, and salted fish to the rice and finish with a drizzle of the flavorful seasoning. To make this an endless pot of comfort food takes ten minutes to cook to perfection.

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clay pot chicken rice

1. Ingredients for the clay pot chicken rice

Clay pot chicken rice is known as 煲仔饭 or 瓦煲鸡饭 in Chinese. There are many versions 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.

You can use any ingredients to prepare chicken rice in a 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.

  • The seasoning ingredients are mostly the common ingredients for Chinese food in the kitchen pantry- sesame oil, oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, rice wine (Shaoxing wine), ground white pepper, and chopped ginger.
  • The main ingredients are chicken, Chinese sausage, salted fish, and shiitake mushrooms. Besides the ingredients I use in this recipe, you can include other ingredients such as bok choy, dried shrimp, and cured meats (lap yuk).

2. Can I cook it with an electric rice cooker?

You may wonder about the importance of using a clay pot for cooking. Can’t I cook it in an electric rice cooker?

Yes, certainly. However, the rice will lack the signature aroma if cooked with a clay pot, mainly because of the nicely crispy rice formed at the bottom. One mouthful of this rice will melt your heart with the unmistakable clay pot aroma.

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 a clay pot has a great flavor of all the ingredients, plus the nice crispy rice at the bottom.

The clay pot is exotic cooking crockery for non-Asians, but it is the traditional kitchenware for people in Southern China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia.

A Dutch oven or any heavy-bottomed pot is suitable as an alternative to a clay pot for making this dish.

3. Can you recreate this one-pot meal at home?

Absolutely! It is straightforward and quick to prepare a one-pot meal. Chicken rice is best as a simple stand-alone meal and can be elevated to a weeknight delight. Whatever it is, the fantastic flavor will keep you asking for more.

Traditionally, chicken rice in a clay pot is cooked over charcoal stoves to infuse the unique charcoal aroma. Nowadays, most use either an electric or gas stove at home. So, 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 for cooking this recipe. So let’s dive in and see how to make this at home.

Malaysia clay pot chicken rice

4. How to cook the best clay pot rice

Don’t be overawed by the long list of ingredients. The cooking method is quite simple and has a wide margin of error. Just a few simple steps underpin the success of making the chicken rice in a clay pot as below:

Steps to make the best clay pot rice

  1. Soak the dry shitake mushroom in warm water for 20 minutes. Cut it into long, thin slices. Set aside.
  2. Cut the Chinese sausage into thin slices.
  3. Marinate the chicken for one hour with the ingredients B (chicken marinade) in the recipe in the refrigerator.
  4. Mix all the ingredients in C together to make the sauce.
  5. Rinse the uncooked rice a few times until the water runs clear. Long-grain rice is best for this rice dish. Drain and transfer it into the clay pot.
  6. Add water to the rice, and simmer the rice over low to medium heat with the lid on for 10 minutes.
  7. Spread the marinated chicken, sliced sausages, salted fish, and Chinese mushroom evenly on top of the rice.
  8. Drizzle the sauce as in ingredients C in the recipe on the rice.
  9. Cover with the lid of the clay pot, and simmer over low heat for another 10 minutes.
  10. Garnish with spring onions (green onions).

To serve, gently scrape the side of the pot to loosen the rice. Next, mix well the ingredient with the rice. Finally, gently loosen the aromatic layers of crunchy rice crust at the bottom of the pot.


  • 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 usually 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; therefore, less water is used in this recipe.
  • Cook the rice over very low heat to avoid the rice getting burned at the bottom of the pot.
  • One of the critical steps is to time it so that all the ingredients finish cooking simultaneously. For example, since the required cooking time for rice, chicken, and Chinese sausage are different, you must half-cook the chicken first, add the chicken, and then the Chinese sausage later.
  • Half-cooked the rice before adding the chicken share a similar concept to preparing biryani rice. You need to boil the rice in a pot of salted water (like cooking pasta) for biryani rice. The semi-cooked rice is the base ingredient at the bottom of the pot with other ingredients stacked over it (like pizza) before cooking over low heat.
  • Ask the butcher to chop the chicken into 4cm pieces. You can use chicken drumsticks, thighs, or wings, but 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 not have attached bone that can contribute extra 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 stove’s heat and worry about over-charing the rice. However, the rice lacks the classic clay pot aroma.
  • If you use an electric or induction stove, transfer the clay pot to another burner with lower heat if it is too hot.

This Cantonese clay pot rice will catch your attention if you are always squeamish about street foods. First, watch the video demonstration to understand the cooking process, and print out the recipe below. Then, cook a pot of rice and have a feast at your comfy home.

Yield: 2

Chicken Rice in Clay Pot

Chicken Rice in Clay Pot

Chicken rice in clay pot is one of the most popular street food among the Chinese in Malaysia.

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes


A- For the rice:

B- For the marinate:

C- For the drizzling sauce:

D- Other ingredients


  1. Soak the dry Chinese mushroom in warm water for 20 minutes. Cut it into long, thin slices. Set aside.
  2. Cut the Chinese sausage into thin slices.
  3. Mix all the ingredients in B together in a bowl. Marinate for one hour in the refrigerator.
  4. Mix all the ingredients in C make the sauce.
  5. Rinse the rice a few times until the water runs clear. Drain and transfer it into the clay pot.
  6. Add water into the rice.
  7. Simmer the rice over low heat with the lid on for 10 minutes.
  8. Spread the marinated chicken, salted fish (optional), and Chinese mushroom evenly on the surface of the rice.
  9. Drizzle the sauce on it and cover.
  10. Simmer over low heat for another 10 minutes.
  11. Garnish with spring onions and serve.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

2 portions

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 939Total Fat: 47gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 29gCholesterol: 259mgSodium: 2991mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 71g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 4/16/2019


Saturday 23rd of May 2020

Hi KP Kwan, thanks for your prompt response. Am I right to put the marinated chicken into the half cooked rice? I saw your video the chicken is not required to be cooked first.

KP Kwan

Sunday 24th of May 2020

Yes, correct. Put the uncooked rice on the half-cooked rice. The reason not to put together with the rice initially is that we want to wait until the rice starts to firm up and able to support the chicken pieces. Otherwise, the chicken will sink to the bottom of the cooker.


Friday 22nd of May 2020


I love all your videos!!! Fantastic. I am going to try this claypot rice in a rice cooker. May I ask when should the chicken, and other ingredients be added to the rice?

KP Kwan

Friday 22nd of May 2020

Hi Nancy, You can start by cooking the rice for ten minutes. By now, the rice is still half-cooked. Add the chicken, and then continue to cook again until it is all done. You can refer to the recipe for the details. KP Kwan


Thursday 23rd of January 2020

Can you send a picture of salted fish or salty fish. Tried getting it here in Colorado Springs. but they had no clue what I was asking for. This is a fairly large oriental market. Thank you for your help.

KP Kwan

Saturday 25th of January 2020

Hi Grace, I do not have salted fish on hand but manage to find some images that are clear. Here is the link: KP Kwan


Tuesday 18th of September 2018

Hello Fellow friend

Like your cooking recipes...great job..


Monday 19th of September 2016

Hi Kwan,

Thank you so much for sending me recipes and I've learned a lot from your teaching of techniques especially on the butter cake. Really appreciate your support and help. My salute to you for being honest and open minded in sharing out your knowledge. I would surely spread this out to those who are keen to learn from you.

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