Claypot Rice is synonymous with aromatic rice which is golden brown and crispy at the bottom. Yet it has been kept moist and flavourful by intense heat of the claypot which causes the meat juices and seasoning of the chicken, Chinese sausage and other winter air dried meats to slowly drip into the rice. An unmistakable earthy, smoky flavour has also been added by this method of cooking. For my uninitiated readers, the Persian Tah-dig (a rice dish) is the most similar crispy- bottom rice dish I have tasted.
Many cultures cook with claypots. There are several brands of Asian claypots on sale. Decades ago, my father’s helper used a partially glazed claypot, like the one below. Such pots are still being sold and used all over the world today as they are inexpensive. Buy one that has an internal glaze. However, they are rather fragile and porous. Both pot and cover have to be fully immersed in water for at least a day before they can be used. Brand new ones have to be handled with extra care, they should be heated over low heat for a while before raising it to medium heat to prevent cracking. Best to season them by cooking some stew style dishes in them first.
My friend, Josephine, who originates from Hong Kong introduced me to the Tanyu Pot. Whenever I visited her apartment in Tokyo, she would have a pot or 2 over the stove, slow cooking a fragrant pot of soup, a porridge or a stew. She enjoyed the consistent high heat the pot produced. I wasn’t convinced then as I just didn’t want to accumulate more kitchenware!
When I returned home, I wanted a claypot that was much more durable and could withstand high heat. My tanyu pot was being sold at a highly discounted price so I succumbed. I am rather pleased with it. Even though it is not the usual claypot casserole shape, I still use it successfully for this dish.
If you would like to watch a video clip about the Tanyu pots, which come in all sort of shapes and sizes, click on this link. https://youtu.be/acBp6Y5g98A
Some Comments About the Ingredients
Chinese Sausages. There are several types and 2 of them are featured in the photo above. The red colour sausage is Là cháng (腊肠) which usually made from pork. It is slightly sweet, seasoned with rice wine and soy sauce. The dark brown sausage is Yun chang (膶腸) which is duck liver. Both are air dried or smoked. If either one is not available, just double the quantity of the other. I highly advise against using Italian smoked sausages as a substitute.
Chicken Legs need not be skinned. Chicken fat is very fragrant. Use other chicken parts like breast if your family prefers white meat.
Kai Lan (芥兰 and scientifically known as brassica aleracea) is also known as Chinese broccoli, Chinese Kale and it can be eaten raw or cooked. Kailan is commonly stir-fried, steamed or boiled. A common alternative vegetable which is green and leafy is Choy sum (菜心), which can be literally translated as “vegetable heart”.
Measurement HINT: one rice cooker cup is equivalent to 180 ml or 3/4 US cup. White or mixed long grain rice weighs 150 gm (rounded off).
STEP 1. Wash and prepare the ingredients as shown in the photo above. If you are not concerned about cholesterol, keep the chicken skin on the leg as it will make a more flavourful dish. If your family prefers white meat, substitute with 400gm of chicken breast with skin on.
STEP 2. Wash and drain the rice. Season the chicken for about 20 mins. You can prepare all these a day ahead and cook about 45 mins prior to serving time.
Cooking the Dish
STEP 1. Heat your clay pot over medium high heat. Add in 1 Tbsp of cooking oil and let it heat up. Stir fry the sliced shitake mushrooms for about 2 to 3 mins till it is lightly fragrant.
STEP 2. Add and fry the seasoned chicken for several minutes, till the chicken is no longer pink on the outside. Remove all ingredients and set aside.
STEP 3. Add 1 Tbsp of cooking oil into clay-pot and heat oil. Pour in drained, washed rice and fry for about 2 to 3 minutes (not longer as this will cause the rice grains to break as it cooks later on). Cover part of the top of the rice (leaving some space for the Chinese sausages) with the ingredients from Step 2 which had been set aside earlier.
STEP 4 Arrange the 2 types of Chinese sausages on top of rice. Add in 2.75 cups of hot water and cover. Reduce to medium low heat and cook for about 20 mins.
STEP 5 Toss the prepared kai lan with the seasoning, lift cover of claypot and add seasoned kai lan on top of cooked rice. Cover and continue to cook for 5 mins more.
Serves: 4 to 5
2 1/4 cups of white Jasmine rice, wash and drain.
2 3/4 Cups (650 ml) of water to cook rice.
2 large chicken thighs (keep skin for more flavour if you prefer)
1 tsp chopped garlic
Seasoning for chicken
- 2 tsp ginger juice
- 2 tsp dark soy sauce
- 2 tsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 Tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 Tbsp shao xing wine
One Pork Chinese sausage, sliced diagonally
One Chinese Duck Liver sausage, sliced diagonally
3 re-hydrated Shitake mushrooms, sliced
3 bunches of Kai Lan/Chinese Kale, washed and cut up as shown
Sauce for Kai Lan
- 1 Tbsp water
- 1 1/2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1/2 Tbsp cooking oil
1. Prepare the ingredients as described.
(a) wash and re-hydrate the shitake and slice them when soft;
(b) wash and drain the jasmine rice;
(c) wash, slice and season the chicken;
(d) wash and slice the kai lan or choy sum;
(e) make a bowl of sauce for the kai lan.
2. Cooking the dish.
(a) Heat your clay pot over medium high heat. Add in 1 to 2 Tbsp of cooking oil and let it heat up. Stir fry sliced shitake mushrooms for about 2 to 3 mins till it is lightly fragrant.
(b) Add and fry the seasoned chicken for several minutes, till the chicken is no longer pink on the outside. Remove all ingredients and set aside.
(c) Add 1 Tbsp of cooking oil into clay-pot and heat oil. Pour in drained, washed rice and fry for about 2 to 3 minutes (not longer as this will cause the rice grains to break as it cooks later on). Cover part of the top of the rice (leaving some space for the Chinese sausages) with the ingredients from Step 2 which had been set aside earlier.
(d) Arrange the 2 types of Chinese sausages on top of rice. Add in 2.75 cups of hot water and cover. Reduce to medium low heat and cook for about 20 mins.
(e) Toss the prepared kai lan with the seasoning, lift cover of claypot and add seasoned kai lan on top of cooked rice. Cover and continue to cook for 5 mins more.
(f) Serve with a nourishing bowl of soup.
Although I have posted many other recipes, these are the most suitable combinations. Most Asians love clear soups as part of their meal.
1. Jin Hua Ham and Winter Melon Soup. Click here.
2. Lotus Root, Peanut and Pork Ribs. Click here
3. Radishes and Dried Squid. Click here.
4. Pork Stomach with Peppercorn. Click here
5. Tang Ho with Fishballs. Click here
Include one of these Vegetable Dishes if you are serving more persons without increasing the size of the recipe.
1. Broccoli and Meat/Tofu Stir Fry. Click here.
2. Spinach in Broth with 3 types of eggs. Click here.
3. Pork, Spinach and Egg Stir Fry. Click here.
4. Shanghai Cabbage with Oyster Sauce & Garlic. Click here.
5. Ladies Fingers with Dried Prawn Sambal (spicy). Click here.
Complete this delicious meal with dessert!
Now that you have prepared a full complete meal for the family or your guests, their taste buds just require a dessert to be fully satiated! May I suggest one the following? Except for No 3, they can be prepared a day or 2 ahead and kept refrigerated.
1. Almond Jelly + Longans. Click here.
2. Coconut Jelly with Can Lychees. Click here.
3. Sweet Potato Dessert Soup. Click here.
4. Orange Agar Agar Wedges. Click here.
5. Sago Pudding. Click here.
6. Caramel Custard. Click here.