Sunday, July 15, 2012

Chinese Claypot Rice - All Credit to the Clay

Maiden pot and my maiden attempt at a classic Chinese claypot rice. This is high up on the list of one-pot dinners for busy folks who want to eat home-cooked food but don't fancy too much cleaning up.

It's less intimidating than I'd expected, and I hope the pictures will encourage you to try making it too.

First, wash and rinse 2 cups of jasmine rice, add to claypot and cover with 2 cups of chicken stock.

About 5 minutes into the cooked rice, I added salted mackerel, 2 chicken thighs chopped into chunks, mushroom and Chinese sausages. Just like the easy 5-step Hainanese chicken rice method, the fats from  the bird will melt and flavour the rice.

As I still had time before dinner, I put it on a low fire to let the claypot work on the flavours. Covered. Oh, I had some leftover Chinese spinach from lunch and added them at the last minute.

I checked in about 20 minutes later, and added more stock as the rice was still hard to the bite. And then before I realised, it was done. Drizzled a tablespoon of dark soya sauce all over just before serving.

Taste? Smoky, classic claypot flavour without me doing very much. Chicken was cooked just right, moist and juicy. All credit to the clay! I'm sold on this humble pot. Everything is cooked in the clay, no other pots to clean. My friends are so going to get a claypot from me this Christmas!

Got wiped out completely in 10 minutes. And I love the sight of this crust at the bottom. Another characteristic of the classic dish. Carcinogenic, maybe, so don't try to eat it.

To wash, just soak it in water overnight, and the crust will float up in the morning. Don't try to scrub it, just don't bother. And don't use soap to wash as the clay will absorb the detergent.

I have to record this step I took that turned out to be important. I soaked the claypot for more than 2 hours before using it. Water is absorbed into the clay and slowly released as steam under the gentle heat. I believe this accidental step made a huge difference to the end result.

Big tick from self and family. This is going to be a staple in this household now! I've been forewarned it can become very addictive, and I'm already loving it.

Now, do you think I could make pilaf rice, or the Indian bryani this way too? Basmatic rice beckons. Or how about a Western version replacing salted fish with anchovies, Chinese sausage with Italian pancetta, and Chinese mushrooms with a portobello? Could paella or risotto be cooked in a claypot?


  1. Wonderful! My Aunt is giving me a two claypots (yay!) and I will be coming here for more lessons.

  2. Welcome to the world of claypot.. claypot noodles also very shiok and it's even simpler! crack an egg when the noodles are almost done, cover for a few seconds. love the WAH effect when you uncover the claypot in front of the guests, the aromas hit them, and the bubbling of the sauce with a wobbly egg is just magic..

  3. Er, I eat the bottom's ze best. Gotta scrape those fellas quickly so it doesn't turn all black, just brown and mix into rice to give it the crunchy texture. Shiok is the word!
    Only rediscovered this dish when I queued up 45 minutes at Malaysian Street in Sentosa when it opened and after long day at Universal Studios. Ok, when can we come for demo and then can replicate at home here?

    1. Yes, actually, my daughter scrapped them off and ate them up! They were like semi rice crackers. You waited 45 minutes in line for this? Wow. Did you finish it in less than 5 minutes??!

  4. Yummy! I love claypot dishes - Claypot FIsh Head, Prawn Vermicelli, Tofu .... The list goes on and on...

  5. I recall my dad soaking new clay pots for over 24 hours or more so that more water will seep into the pot. This might just make the difference to the food cooked into it. :)

  6. thanking you in advance for my claypot then x

  7. Thank you, EVC! Your receipt was excellent! It's perfectly delicious!


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