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?