Clay Pot Rice always reminds me of Hong Kong…
Strolling along the streets of Kowloon market the main event is the street food, in particular the clay pot rice and the black bean clams (but more on the clams another day…).
Clay Pot Rice Recipe is inspired by those days of travelling through Hong Kong before we entered mainland China..
This particular clay pot recipe is called my Clay Pot Rice, but I cook it in a metal saucepan – clay pots look good but who actually has one of those just lying around in their kitchen?!
The fragrance seduces you, drawing you closer to a row of clay pots simmering away over charcoal. Welcome to the world of clay pot rice – probably one of the original one pot meals ever invented.
This is one of my favourite one pot recipes to make at home, it’s a really easy dinner recipe that the kids whoff down and the adults delight in the comfort of a delicious bowl of rice packed with flavour. This is far from an authentic version; but the flavours are there and it is surprisingly delicious for such little effort.
The great thing about this clay pot rice recipe besides only having one dish to wash up, is it’s quick, lightening fast; you can be serving this within 20 minutes from start to finish.
Everything you want is put together in the saucepan and just plop it on the table and let everyone serve themselves. In fact, it is also perfect as a meal for one recipe; occasionally I’ve made this just for myself if I’m home alone – just change the amount of rice and water and you’ve got yourself a super quick meal for one recipe!
Like most of the recipes I create for my blog I try to make them as accessible and easy as possible and many are born out of necessity. I never realised that kids from a very young age just don’t stop eating. I mean like, ever.
No sooner have you finished dinner the mantra of small children starts to chime; ‘Daaa-aaaad! I’m hungry.’ They shout sitting in front of the TV, legs up, under a blanket, sipping squash with a momentary glance across the room to ensure their overgrown servants have heard them..
Man! I can’t wait until they can make their own dinner…
The other thing I like about this, besides being an uber simple and easy rice recipe is you can freestyle it. There are a couple of fundamental elements to the dish but it’s a bit of a fridge emptier, throw in what vegetables you want, you can use pork belly, chicken, whatever (although fish not so good, but shellfish works).
This is also really good as your leftovers recipe special!
Had a roast chicken? Just made my wonderful Kleftiko dish? Got some leftover roast pork belly? Bung it all in! Traditionally you would use smoked Chinese sausages, glazed pork belly, shitake mushrooms and you could really go to town in making this authentic. But that’s not the purpose of my recipe today; this is about convenience, speed, something different and always delicious (and quite healthy on this occasion!).
Equally, I enjoy spicy food, hot food, I love chilli. Ever seen a six year old accidentally eat a chilli flake? No, neither have I but I suspect it would induce a lot of noise. So this is a great dish where you can throw in some chilli or even a drizzle of chilli oil over individual bowls once served.
Obviously if you want to go vegetarian with this rice recipe just omit the meat and substitute for tofu or even aubergine. If you do use tofu, put that in at the same time as the sauce (noted below in the method) otherwise it’ll just melt away, while the aubergine can go in at the start.
A quick note on cooking white rice; the ratio is always 1 rice : 2 water (so use 1 cup of rice add 2 cups of water). With this recipe invariably the other ingredients contain moisture and you can always add a bit of water if it isn’t cooked enough; but if you start with too much water you have mush and there is no rescue! Check out my fool-proof boiled rice recipe for easy rice cooked to perfection everytime.
But I digress, lets crack on with the recipe…
Clay Pot Rice – Ingredients (serves 4 adults):
1 chicken breast or 2 strips of pork belly thinly cut (about 1 cm thick)
2 cups basmati rice
3 1/2 cups water (or light stock)
1 small onion diced
2 cloves garlic sliced
1 inch ginger diced
2 spring onions sliced 2 inches long
1/2 cup frozen peas
Few mushrooms sliced
** you can add almost any vegetables you want – aubergine, bok choi, thinly sliced carrots, etc.**
2 tbl olive oil
Clay Pot Rice Sauce:
4 tbl soy sauce
1 tbl Shaohsing rice wine (or sherry – don’t worry if you haven’t got, it still tastes awesome!)
1 tsp sugar (or 1 tbl honey)
Pinch Chinese five spice powder
1 tbl sesame oil
1 red chilli sliced
Fresh coriander for garnish.
- First; gently fry the onions, garlic and ginger in the olive oil for a few minutes to start and release their flavours.
- Add the meat (if using) and fry till just starting to colour, then add the frozen peas (plus any other vegetables you want), spring onions and rice and combine thoroughly, season with a pinch of salt and pepper and finally add the stock.
- Bring to a boil then turn the heat down to the lowest setting, cover tightly with a lid and don’t touch it for exactly 10 minutes!
- Meanwhile mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar and chinese five spice powder.
- After 10 minutes of cooking, remove the lid (careful of the steam!) and gently drizzle over the sauce all over the top, replace the lid and leave to cook on the lowest setting for another 2 minutes.
You are now done!
Turn the heat off, remove the lid and let the steam escape.
Traditionally the norm is to them empty the contents of this into a big bowl and mix all together. I don’t like that. 1. it’s another dish to wash up and 2. I quite like having some really dark bits of rice that has soaked the sauce and other bits that are less so, basically a bit of variety to the rice to avoid a monotone colour throughout.
Taste the rice to make sure it is cooked and give it a couple of minutes to relax.
Garnish with fresh coriander, chilli and enjoy!
Goes well with some fiery aubergines on the side!
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