The Best Clay Pot Chicken Rice (鸡肉煲仔饭)

The Best Clay Pot Chicken Rice - the recipe teaches you the easiest way to create a super flavorful one-dish meal without a clay pot or rice cooker | omnivorescookbook.comThis clay pot chicken rice is so addictive! After I developed this recipe, I was so hooked and couldn’t help but cook this dish every week. Beyond the greatness of the tender and moist chicken, the rice absorbs all the extract from the mushrooms and chicken grease, and is then seasoned with oyster sauce. It is SO good! My recipe teaches you the easiest way to create a super flavorful one-dish meal without a clay pot or rice cooker.

A quick breakdown of the post:
– A brief introduction to Chinese clay pot cooking
Why this recipe
Cooking notes (Very important, please read)
Cooking video
Recipe with step-by-step pictures

A brief introduction to Chinese clay pot cooking

Clay pot rice (煲仔饭, bao zai fan) originated from Cantonese cuisine, but is now becoming popular throughout China. The term generally refers to rice with marinated meat and vegetables, cooked in one pot, then drizzled with a flavorful sauce. A perfectly cooked claypot rice has a great flavor of all the ingredients, with nicely crisped rice on the bottom of the pot.

There are many types of clay pot rice, for example, pork ribs with black beans, Chinese sausage, salted fish, and even frog (unusual, but really delicious).

When cooking a perfect clay pot rice, the trickiest part is to control the heat so that all the ingredients are cooked perfectly at the same time. On the flip side, you might end up with uncooked rice on the top, burnt rice on the bottom, the rice ending up like porridge, or the meat not cooked through.

While I was doing research for this dish, I encountered two theories for cooking it. One theory is to cook everything together with the rice from the beginning, until cooked through (it is supposed to be the authentic way). The other theory is to cook the rice and meat separately. When the rice is half cooked, the meat and veggies are added to the rice.

My recipe uses the second approach.

The reasons behind this are:

  1. The chicken tastes better if browned first
  2. It is easier to control the doneness of the whole dish
  3. This method is more suitable for cooking without a clay pot or rice cooker.

The Best Clay Pot Chicken Rice - the recipe teaches you the easiest way to create a super flavorful one-dish meal without a clay pot or rice cooker | omnivorescookbook.com

Why this recipe

When I develop a recipe, I don’t sacrifice flavor in order to reduce the number of cooking steps. So you might find an easier clay pot chicken rice recipe than this one. But remember, sometimes you need to spend some time and energy to create a better flavor. I’ve tried my best to simplify the cooking process and reduce the total number of ingredients, while still achieving the best flavor. This way, you can:

– Cook it without a clay pot or rice cooker

– Learn all the tips to avoiding uncooked, soggy, or burnt rice

– Finish prep and cooking in less than 1 hour (including soaking the rice)

– Create a super tasty one-dish meal with relatively few ingredients

– Use the cooking video below to go through the cooking process in 5 minutes

The Best Clay Pot Chicken Rice - the recipe teaches you the easiest way to create a super flavorful one-dish meal without a clay pot or rice cooker | omnivorescookbook.com

Cooking notes (Very important, please read)

The doneness of the rice

If you have a kitchen scale, please use it to measure the rice. Although 1 cup of rice can generally be converted to 210 grams (7.4 ounces), my measurement somehow ended up with 1 cup of rice equaling 230 grams (8.1 ounces) for the rice I used. If you’re using a measuring cup instead of a kitchen scale, it won’t cause any serious issues, but the rice might end up a bit softer.

Adjust the amount of water according to the ingredients you’re using, because the ingredients themselves contain water and will add extra moisture to the rice. For example, if you add more green vegetables than called for in the recipe, you might want to slightly reduce the amount of water.

Even if you measure everything, you might still need to adjust the amount of water according to the cooking results, because there are so many factors affecting the doneness of the rice. For example, the type of grain, the type of stove, and the cooking equipment used all have an impact.

What you can do

Soak the rice for 30 minutes and drain. This is very important. It helps the rice cook through evenly.

Use a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot. It will hold and disperse heat better, so the rice will cook evenly.

Use a gas stove if possible. After the rice is half cooked, you should immediately turn to lowest heat and cover the pot. If you’re using an electric stove, what you can do is turn another burner to low heat beforehand, and transfer the pot to the low heat slot after covering it.

In the end, I hope you won’t be scared away by this relatively long cooking note! If you try to cook this dish once, you’ll actually find that the cooking process is very easy and quick. Be prepared if the texture of the rice doesn’t come out perfectly the first time, though. If you have trouble with the doneness of the rice, please leave a note below and let me know your cooking process in detail, so I can help with troubleshooting.

Cooking Video

And don’t forget to post a picture on my Facebook fan page if you cook this recipe. I’d love to see your work!

4.6 from 9 reviews
The Best Clay Pot Chicken Rice (鸡肉煲仔饭)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: 2-3
Ingredients
For the rice
  • 230 grams (1 cup) raw white rice (short round) (*see footnote 1)
  • 350 milliliters (about 2 teaspoons less than 1 and 1/2 cup) water
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 15 (20 grams / 0.5 ounces) dried shiitake mushrooms (or 2 cups fresh shiitake mushrooms)
For marinade
  • 2 (500 grams / 1 pound) bone-in chicken leg-and-thigh portions, chopped (*see footnote 2) or 4 boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or Japanese sake)
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
For the sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • (optional) 2 cups Chinese broccoli, baby bok choy or chopped broccoli
Instructions
For the Prep
  1. Rinse rice a few times and drain. Add water and mix. Let the rice soak for 30 minutes.
  2. Rinse shiitake mushrooms. Place dried shiitake mushrooms in a medium sized bowl and add warm water to cover. Mix a few times so that the mushrooms are coated with water. Set aside and allow to rehydrate for about 20 minutes. (Slice fresh mushroom if you use it instead.)
    Clay Pot Chicken Rice Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com Clay Pot Chicken Rice Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  3. Combine chicken, light soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, ginger, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Mix well. Blend in cornstarch and mix well by hand until chicken is evenly coated. Marinate at room temperature.
    Clay Pot Chicken Rice Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com Clay Pot Chicken Rice Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  4. When the shiitake mushrooms turn soft, carefully rinse mushrooms to remove any dirt. Drain and set aside.
Start cooking
  1. Drain rice and add into a medium sized dutch oven (or clay pot). Add 350 milliliters water. Add Heat over medium high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil and mix well. Bring to a boil while stirring regularly, just like cooking risotto. Turn to medium heat. Continue to cook and stir, until the water is almost absorbed by the rice, about 5 minutes. Cover and simmer over lowest heat for 10 minutes.
    Clay Pot Chicken Rice Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com Clay Pot Chicken Rice Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  2. While simmering the rice, cook the chicken and mushrooms. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil into a nonstick skillet over medium high heat until warm. Add chicken and let it cook for 1 minute without stirring. Place the chicken so that you cook the skin side first, until golden brown. Flip and cook the other side until golden brown, and the chicken is half cooked through. Turn to lowest heat. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
    Clay Pot Chicken Rice Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com Clay Pot Chicken Rice Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  3. (Optional) Use a spoon to transfer the extra oil to a small bowl, until just a thin layer of oil remains in the skillet. If you use skinless chicken, skip this step.
  4. Turn back to medium high heat and add shiitake mushrooms. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
    Clay Pot Chicken Rice Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com Clay Pot Chicken Rice Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  5. When the rice is ready (the water should be fully absorbed by now), arrange chicken, mushrooms, and Chinese broccoli on top of the rice. Cover and continue to simmer for 18-20 minutes (the longer you simmer, the more crispy the rice on the bottom will be). Be careful - you should move as quickly as you can, so the temperature of the rice won’t drop too much.
    Clay Pot Chicken Rice Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com Clay Pot Chicken Rice Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  6. While the rice is cooking, mix the oyster sauce with the sugar and garlic in a small bowl.
  7. When the rice is done, remove from heat and uncover. Drizzle oyster sauce on top immediately, while the rice is hot, and mix everything well with a spatula. I suggest you scrape the rice from the bottom while the pot is still warm. Otherwise, it will be a bit difficult to scoop out.
    Clay Pot Chicken Rice Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com Clay Pot Chicken Rice Cooking Process | omnivorescookbook.com
  8. Serve warm.
Notes
(1)If you have a kitchen scale, please use it to measure the rice. Although 1 cup of rice can generally be converted to 210 grams (7.4 ounces), my measurement somehow ended up with 1 cup of rice equaling 230 grams (8.1 ounces) for the rice I used. If you’re using a measuring cup instead of a kitchen scale, it won’t cause any serious issues, but the rice might end up a bit softer.

(2)Ask the butcher to chop the chicken leg-thigh portions into 4 to 5 pieces. Alternatively, you can use chicken drumsticks, boneless thigh, or wings. Chicken breast won’t work very well in this recipe.

The nutrition facts are calculated based on 1 of the 3 servings generated by this recipe.

Clay Pot Chicken Rice Nutrition Facts | omnivorescookbook.com

More rice recipes

Thai Curry Chicken Fried Rice | Omnivore's Cookbook
Thai Curry Chicken Fried Rice

Tomato Fried Rice with Sausage | omnivorescookbook.com
Tomato Fried Rice with Sausage

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Omnivore's Cookbook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
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Meet Maggie

Hi I'm Maggie Zhu! Welcome to my site about modern Chinese cooking - including street food, family recipes, and restaurant dishes. I take a less labor-intensive approach while maintaining the taste and look of the dish. I am originally from Beijing, and now cook from my Austin, Texas kitchen.

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20 thoughts on “The Best Clay Pot Chicken Rice (鸡肉煲仔饭)

  1. helen @ scrummylane

    Clay pot frog rice? Yikes!
    I bet it tastes good, but I think I’ll stick with the chicken version!
    😉
    I love how you add oyster sauce to this at the end. Another easy and delicious one -pot meal!

    Reply
  2. Kathleen | HapaNom

    You always have such incredible flavors and technique in your cooking, Maggie! I’ve never cooked with the clay pot method, but looking at your recipe, I definitely need to give it a try! Hope you had a fantastic time in Thailand – so jealous 😉

    Reply
  3. [email protected] Eats

    OMG OMG!! I have wanted to try clay pot for ages! I have never come across a recipe that I felt I could trust, but I totally trust you. And guess what? I actually have the real clay pots! I got them when I was in Hong Kong, I use them to make things like bibimbap and some Japanese dishes that use a similar technique. Thank you for sharing this! 🙂

    Reply
  4. [email protected]

    This is a dish I would love to try it all looks so tasty.

    Reply
  5. Kayiu @ Saucy Spatula

    So glad you made a 煲仔饭! I’m so proud as a Cantonese 😉

    I went to have clay pot rice just last week when I was still in Hong Kong! I can’t get over the Cantonese version with pork, preserved veggies and lots and lots of dark soy sauce!

    Next time when I make clay pot rice at home, I’ll definitely look into your cooking method though!

    p.s. Your photography keeps getting better and better!

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Thanks Kayiu! I was really nervous when I was cooking this, because we don’t usually cook it here in Beijing and I did quite some research to find a delicious approach. It’s not a very authentic one, but I really like its taste 🙂
      I used the dutch oven because I broke my new clay pot the first week when I got it! lol Will definitely get another clay pot and try out the Hong Kong version. So yummy!

      Reply
  6. Robi

    I tried your techniques, and it is great! I did add in 1 tsp of oyster sauce in the chicken marinate and also layered Chinese sausages on the rice before adding the chicken and mushrooms on top. And I skipped the marinate for the veggies. And also, before serving, I added in 1 tsp of thick fragrant soy sauce and 1 tsp of sesame oil. It was yummy! My first time making Claypot rice and my family loved it. It is really thanks to your techniques which helped me pull it off.

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      I’m glad the dish worked for you Robi! It’s such a great idea to add some Chinese sausages on the rice. YUM! I believe the authentic Cantonese claypot dishes do use sausages. Can’t wait to try it out in my own kitchen next time 🙂

      Reply
  7. Ling

    Hi Maggie,

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! I was divided between using the claypot and rice cooker to do this dish. I decided to give the claypot a shot. The taste was very good. I modified the recipe a bit to suit my taste. Added 1 tbsp of dark soy sauce , 1 tbsp of light soy sauce and 1 tsp of sesame oil to the rice seasoning sauce, marinated the mushrooms by rubbing in some oyster sauce and sugar, and blanched romaine lettuce and then drizzled some diluted leftover rice seasoning sauce over it. The rice was quite burnt at the bottom – must have left it on the stove for too long. I will use your recipe to cook in the rice cooker the next time to avoid the trickiness of timing.

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Thanks for trying out my recipe Ling! I think using a claypot will produce a slightly better result than rice cooker, but the cooking time can be tricky to control. Your adjustment sounds nice. I especially like the idea of marinating the mushrooms. Yum!
      Thanks for taking time and share you cooking experience. Hope the dish will turn out well in the rice cooker too 🙂

      Reply
  8. Mylifeinfood

    I am sure that Maggie is a fabulous cook but this recipe struck me as mediocre at best.

    I have been cooking Szechuan Chinese for over 30 years and recently have begun exploring Cantonese, including a variety of noodle dishes (seafood fried noodles among them) and dumplings, despite my love of spice. Finely-executed Cantonese can be absolutely over-the-top, just as chili, Szechuan peppercorn and garlic-laden dishes can be if properly executed. I have studied traditional Chinese cooking methods which, regardless of the ingredients, always result in a fabulous and authentic meal as long as you follow the rules – balance between flavors and contrast in textures.

    I was impressed with the detail in Maggie’s recipe and followed it to the letter but. unfortunately, found the result to be the rough equivalent of Chinese fast food – the Chinese equivalent of American crock-pot cooking perhaps?. The ingredients were spot-on but the methods resulted in a bland, mishmash of flavors and textures, not the cleanly differentiated flavors and textures that traditional Chinese cuisine always provides. The rice was nicely browned on the bottom but the ingredients on top of the rice were nondescript, except for the Chinese broccoli and baby bok choi that I used which were crisp and tasty. I thought the marinade was good but the sum of the parts just didn’t seem to come together. I’m sorry.

    As I said, I am sure that Maggie is a wonderful cook but this is not the traditional Chinese cuisine that I have grown accustomed to over the past 40 years. That said, it may well appeal to the Western palate that is not accustomed to traditional Chinese cuisine and there is virtue in that..

    Reply