There is nothing wrong with cheating in the kitchen. In fact, I cheat a lot in the kitchen. I substitute whenever I can, and I try to find the easiest way to cook something whenever possible so I have time to do other things. Life is too short to be spent slaving over something in the kitchen, unless of course, when I am in the mood to do so.
I love claypots. The idea of cooking something in a claypot over a charcoal fire, using an old-fashioned fan to manually fan the fire… it is such a romantic idea!
Unfortunately, I do not have a charcoal burner, and even if I did, I doubt the management people at my estate will be very happy with me if I were to cook using that in the house. Besides, after spending four years as a Girl Guide, I am more than happy to leave the starting of a fire to someone else.
But the idea of the claypot still charms, and today, I am sharing my recipe on how to cook Claypot Rice… without using a claypot.
I watch a lot of cooking shows (surprise, surprise) and whenever I see the ang-moh chefs cooking rice using a pot over the stove, going on and on about how not to screw up the process, I would snigger, and wonder why in the world do they not just buy a rice cooker?? The rice cooker cannot screw up. Well, it can screw up, but only if you are really hopeless at cooking – like a girlfriend who once put rice (without any water) in a rice cooker, turned it on and wondered why the rice did not cook.
To cook claypot rice in a claypot means having to stand at the stove for quite a long time, all the while praying that the rice will come out okay – not too hard, not too mushy… that is just way too stressful for me.
There is some prep involved for this recipe. A couple of hours before cooking, the chicken needs to be marinated. At this stage, I also soak and cut the shitake mushrooms as well as cut the ginger and the Chinese sausages into thin slices.
Start by frying the ginger and shallots for 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Add minced garlic and fry for another 30 seconds.
Add dried shrimps and give it a stir.
Add the chicken and stir until the chicken becomes opaque. There is no need to cook the chicken all the way through because the entire dish will finish cooking in the rice cooker. Also add the mushrooms and Chinese sausage.
You can leave out the Chinese sausage but in my opinion, the end result will not be as nice. Once everything is well-combined, add the rice. Season with light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and white pepper. The dark soy sauce gives the rice a lovely brown colour and does not make the dish any more salty.
Stir to mix well.
At this stage, transfer everything in the rice cooker, add the water and hit the “START” button on the rice cooker.
About 30 minutes later, the rice was ready. I garnished mine with fried salty fish, chili, fried shallots and chopped spring onion before serving.
You will not get the burnt bits of rice like those found at the bottom of the clapypot, but hey, it’s quick AND easy AND tasty so I guess this is still a winner all-round!
- 2 cups rice, washed and drained
- 2 cups water
- 2 chicken breast, skin removed and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 thumb-size piece of ginger
- 50g dried prawns, soaked in warm water until soften, then drained
- 2 Chinese sausage, cut thinly (optional)
- 8 dried shitake mushroom, soaked in warm water until rehydrated, remove stalks and slice thinly
- 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons light soy
- 2 - 3 tablespoons dark soy (depending on how dark you like the rice)
- Ground white pepper, to taste
- 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon light soy
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 2 tablespoon good quality Shaoxing wine
- 1 teaspoon corn flour
- 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 stalk spring onion, chopped
- 1 large chili, sliced
- Fried shallots
- Fried Salted fish (optional)
- Cut chicken into small cubes. Season and set aside in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
- Fry the ginger and shallots for 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Add minced garlic and fry for another 30 seconds.
- Add dried shrimps and give it a stir.
- Add the chicken and stir until the chicken becomes opaque. There is no need to cook the chicken all the way through because the entire dish will finish cooking in the rice cooker. Also add the mushrooms and Chinese sausage.
- Once everything is well-combined, add the rice. Season with light soy sauce, dark soy sauce and white pepper. Stir to mix well.
- Transfer everything in the rice cooker, add the water and hit the "START" button on the rice cooker.
- Leftover rice can be kept frozen in freezer.