Claypot Chicken Rice is a hearty and comforting meal popular in Malaysia, Singapore, and China. Marinated chicken, mushrooms, and slices of Chinese sausage are piled on top of steamed rice and served with a sprinkle of green onions.
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Traditionally, as the name suggests, Claypot Chicken Rice is made in a claypot. The only one I currently own is my 9 3/4 inch Donabe (a Japanese clay pot). Chinese-style (sand pots, 砂煲) ones can be found in some Asian markets or online. You can also make this meal in a rice cooker or on the stovetop in a cast iron/other type of pot. While the rice cooker is one of the easier methods, I personally prefer using the clay pot since it creates a delicious crisp layer of rice across the bottom.
I came across a few different ways to prepare this dish. I decided to cook the chicken separately from the rice then pile it on top, but others also mix everything together to cook. While the rice was cooking in the pot, I browned the chicken separately in a wok, then tossed in the soaked mushrooms and lap cheong. Once heated through, I transferred the chicken mixture to the nearly cooked rice and continued to steam the dish for another 15 minutes to incorporate the flavors and finish cooking the chicken. I mixed everything together to serve and topped the Claypot Chicken Rice simple with a sprinkling of green onions. I came across others who included fried shallots, sliced chilies, or freshly chopped cilantro. You can also drizzle in a little extra soy/dark soy sauce if desired.
Shaoxing wine is a fermented rice wine originally from Shaoxing in the Zhejiang province in eastern China. I have been able to find it at larger grocery stores with a sizeable wine selection, such as Wegmans. It is also available in Asian food markets specializing in Chinese ingredients. Sherry can be used as a substitution.
Dark Soy Sauce is also known as sweet soy sauce, black soy sauce, or thick soy sauce. It is available in many Asian food markets or for a higher price on Amazon: Pearl River Bridge Superior Dark Soy Sauce, 16.9-Ounce Glass Bottles (Pack of 2) and Koon Chun Black Soy Sauce. In a pinch, you can also make your own substitute. In a small microwavable bowl, mix together 1 tablespoon water, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 3 tablespoons brown sugar. Microwave for about 20 seconds and stir to combine. This makes 1/4 cup of a thinner dark soy sauce.
Lap Cheong is a Chinese sweet and savory dried sausage generally made with pork/pork fat, but may also include other ingredients such as chicken, beef, or offal. They come with a wax coating, so to prep- soak them in hot water for about 10 minutes, cut off the ends, and peel back the coating to discard before slicing.
Some basic care is required to keep a clay pot in peak condition. To avoid cracking, be careful to not shock the pot with sudden temperature changes. I slowly bring up the heat from low to no higher than medium and don’t put a hot pot on a cold surface, or cold pot on an already hot surface or preheated oven. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific pot for prep work such as soaking overnight before the first use and seasoning. Don’t use detergent to clean the pot since the porous clay will soak in the soap.
Claypot Chicken Rice Recipe
Claypot Chicken Rice
Adapted from Bake with Paws
2 cups long grain rice, like Jasmine
1 pound boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 inch ginger, peeled and julienned
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
6 dried shiitake mushrooms
2 lap cheong (Chinese sausage)
2 1/2 cups chicken stock or water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 green onions, sliced
Rinse the rice in water until the water runs clear. Drain and soak the rice in cold water for 30 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the chicken with the soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, sesame oil, dark soy sauce, cornstarch, salt, sugar, pepper, ginger, and garlic. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.
In another bowl, soak the dried mushrooms in warm water until softened, 20-30 minutes. Remove any dirt, the stems, and thinly slice.
Soak the Lap Cheong in hot water to soften for 10 minutes and remove the waxy coating. Cut diagonally into 1/4 inch thin slices.
Transfer the drained rice to the claypot with the chicken stock or water. Bring to a boil over medium heat (begin on low and slowly adjust to medium if using a claypot) with the lid on, then reduce heat to low and allow to cook undisturbed for 15 minutes. The rice should be nearly tender with most of the liquid evaporated.
While the rice is cooking, drizzle the oil over medium heat in a wok or large pan. Once hot, add the marinated chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on the outside, 1-2 minutes. Stir in the sliced mushrooms and Lap Cheong. Cook just until heated through. Remove from heat.
Top the rice in the claypot with the chicken mixture, cover, and continue to cook over low heat for another 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender.
Stir to combine and serve hot topped with green onions and a drizzle of additional soy/dark soy sauce if desired.