SINGAPOREAN EATS: 煲仔鸡饭 Chicken Claypot Rice

I have been curious to try out the recipe at home.

And yet add to the still festive celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year (Dad and his chinese values).

With the use of smoked/dried ingredients found during this season.

Memories of my childhood days visiting a Hawker Center in Chinatown whenever we can (Not often enough), sizzling rice in a burning hot Claypot. The metal canisters of Fragrant Oil and another of Dark Syrupy Soy Sauce. Heaven in a pot.

My challenge? To try to replicate a memory as close as I can get.

This is a dish that would require a few steps before getting to the end product.

Comparing a few recipes online, I notice the omission of the ‘Fragrant Oil’.

Not that I ever knew what was in it, but I chose to explore with what core ingredients was involved and used a little common sense.

For me, that was the highlight – The difference.

Believe me, it made a difference.

The type of Claypot used made an impact in taste too!

It had been interesting to note that.

I experimented using a commonly found (New) claypot and another which had been in my family for years (A Family Treasure I’d say).

How the rice cooked and the amount of heat from the fire does make a huge difference.

Visually, the old brown and beige clay made for a very rustic presentation also. Which I loved.

Here goes.

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(I used a medium Sized Claypot for cooking).

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Whole Chicken Breast of a Chicken – Deboned/ with Bone,  Chopped into Medium Chunks
  • 6 pieces Medium Sized Dried Black Mushroom (冬菇 Dong Gu)
  • 2-3 Chinese Cabbage (上海白菜 Shanghai Bok Choy)
  • 2 1/2 Cups White Rice (Uncooked)
  • 11/2 Cup Chicken Stock

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INGREDIENTS (Fragrant Oil)

You will be using the main ingredients used here as Garnish also.

  • Handful Shallots (Approx 6) – Finely Sliced
  • 2-3 Chinese Sausage ( 臘腸 Lup Cheong)
  • 3-4 Slices Salted Fish (魚乾/鹹魚 Yu Gan/Xian Yu) – Diced
  • 1/2 Bowl Vegetable Oil + 2 Tbsp more

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INGREDIENTS (Chicken Marinade)

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp White Sesame Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Oyster Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • Dash of White Pepper

GARNISH

  • 1 Sprig Chinese Parsley – Roughly Chopped
  • 2 Sprigs Spring Onion – Chopped
  • 3 Tbsp Dark Soy Sauce (TIP: You can always bowl the Dark Soy Sauce

 Dark and Double Dark: Like Japanese dark soys, Chinese “dark” soys are darker in color and thicker in texture, but tend to be lighter in saltiness. They are generally fermented for a longer period of time than their thin counterparts and often have added sugar or molasses, giving them a sweet-salty flavor and viscous texture. They are used solely for cooking, often added at the last stages to season and add color to sauces. – Via Seriouseats

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STEPS

  • Soak Dried Mushrooms in Hot Water. This will enable them to regain it’s texture quickly. 
  • Keep the Mushrooms whole. Store the water drained from the mushrooms in a bowl for use later. DO NOT THROW it away!
  • Soak Chinese Sausages in Warm Water. This will enable you to peel off the outer layer of the sausage.
  • Cut the Sausages in approximately 0.5cm slices.
  • Using a small pot, Add in 1/2 a Bowl of Chicken Stock and Add Mushrooms to simmer for 20 minutes. This is to tenderize the mushrooms and to let the flavour infuse into the ingredient. Add water as necessary to keep from pot from drying up while cooking.
  • Marinade the Chicken pieces.

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  • Heat the Vegetable Oil and fry the Chinese Sausage until it browns a little. Drain and set aside.
  • Using the same oil, fry the  Diced Salted Fish until Crispy. Drain and set aside.
  • Using the same oil again, finally fry the Shallots until a Golden Brown. Drain and set aside.
  • The end product if the oil would be the Fragrant Oil to be used in the Rice Mix at the Final Serving Stage.
  • Depending on your preference, heat pan and lightly fry Chicken Pieces with 2Tbsp Vegetable Oil.
  • This is to seal in the juice of the meat. Before adding to the claypot later.
  • I prefer the lightly seared colour.

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  • Using a medium fire on the Stove, Heat your Claypot
  • Add your washed Rice, 1 Bowl Chicken Stock and Water from the Soaked Mushrooms.
  • Be careful not to pour in the grits from the water (Dirt from the Mushrooms).
  • Add more water if you think the liquid is not enough. Bear in mind you would be letting it cook on the stove for 20-30minutes. You can always add water when you check occasionally if you prefer.
  • The purpose is also to enable the rice to be fully cooked, yet retain the rice crispies at the bottom of the pot when cooked (米鍋耙).
  • At this point, Add your Mushrooms in 1/3 segment on top of rice in the claypot.
  • The Chicken Pieces at another corner.
  • Lastly, some pieces of Chinese Sausage for flavour.
  • Cook for 20-30minutes. Depending on how cooked you want your rice to be.

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  • In the final 5 minutes before serving, pile your Shanghai Bok Choy on the top of the rice and cover.
  • Cook for 5minutes.

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  • Serve HOT.
  • Remover the vegtables from the top of rice.
  • Drizzle in the Fragrant Oil and Dark Soy Sauce (According to your taste) and Mix!
  • Garnish with Chinese Sausage, Spring Onions, Chinese Parsley and Fried Shallots for added Yummness.
  • ENJOY.
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Satisfaction in a bowl.

REFERENCE:

Types of Soy Sauces

Types of Pickled Ingredients in Asian Food

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