Monday, February 22, 2010

Claypot chicken rice with lap cheong





This for the Chinese is traditional comfort food. There are many variations but the classic consists of diced chicken pieces marinated in a sticky savoury dark sauce, Chinese sausages (lap cheong) and dried salty fish that goes perfectly with the charred rice. Everything is simmered in the claypot over a charcoal stove giving this dish a distinctive flavour. In Hong Kong, its called the '4 flavoured rice' although people normally devour this delicious piping hot dish during the Autumn and Winter (so shouldn't it called the 2 season rice?) when the temperature drops. The salted fish actually enchances the taste of the claypot rice but I left it out as my dad thinks its too salty. I added Shiitake mushrooms to it as well as I felt that that the dish was lacking in vegetables. You can also add bok choy to it but I thought that it may dilute the other delicious flavours and soften the rice making it undesirably soggy as normally a lot of water and juices are released when vegetables are steamed. I garnished it with spring onions and golden fried crispy garlic to make the dish appear more appealing. The recipe actually calls for 4 tablespoons of garlic oil and a drizzle of 1 tablespoon of dark soya sauce before serving but I omitted that as the dish was sufficent in salt and there was already some oil coating the rice from the lap cheong. (Who wants to eat rice swimming in oily greasy lard, anyway?) The rice turned out to be light and fluffy (not too hard or too soft) and the chicken pieces and mushrooms tender and tasty from the marination (I marinated it for 2 hours) and it was complimented by the slightly fatty juicy chinese sausages. This is an easy recipe that is definitely for keeps.

Claypot chicken rice recipe adapted from lily's wai sek hong kitchen and My Kitchen Snippet's website

Ingredients:

2 cups rice, washed and drained
3 cups chicken stock (I used 1 1/4 Knorr chicken bouillon cubes dissolved in 3 cups of water)
4 chicken thighs cut into pieces (bone in chicken pieces can also be used)
5 Chinese mushrooms, soaked, cut into half (I used 8)
1 Chinese sausage, sliced (I used 4)
1 ½ cm thick salted fish, sliced thinly, fried till crispy (I omitted this)
1 tbsp black soya sauce (omitted)
4 tbsp garlic oil (omitted oil but kept the garlic)

Marinade:

2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine
1 tsp of ginger juice (grated a knob of ginger and squeeze)
1 tbsp sesame oil
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp sugar
½ tbsp corn flour


Garnishing:

Spring onion chopped

Method:

1. Mix chicken, mushrooms with marinade and ginger, season for 30 minutes.

2. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok and stir-fry marinated chicken meat for 1 minutes. (I actually stir-fried it for about 5 minutes or more to ensure it was cooked). Add mushroom slices, sliced chinese sausage and stir fry for another 2 minutes or so. Dish out and put aside. (You can actually skip this step and just steam the chicken with the rice but I read a few of the comments and realised that many found that the chicken was still undercooked and had to microwave it at the end separately before dumping it in together with the rice).

3.Put rice and chicken stock into a clay pot, cover and bring to boil lower fire and cook with low heat till holes are formed on top. (About 15 minutes) (Stir once in awhile so that rice won't stick to the bottom of the claypot)


4. Spread marinated chickens and mushrooms, Chinese sausages on top, cover and cook with low heat till rice is dry and chicken pieces are cooked (another 15 minutes). Remove from fire.

5. Sprinkle salted fish on top, cover and leave to stand for 10 minutes till rice is dry and fluffy.

6. Before serving, sprinkle spring onionss and garlic, mix in to combine toppings and rice.

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