This is one of those few dishes my mother made often when my sisters and I were growing up. Basically one of the few things she can cook. If you know my mother, you’ll know what this means. My mother’s version had salted fish, chicken pieces (usually thigh and leg cut up into small pieces and smashed with a cleaver), dried shitake mushrooms, lup cheong and julienned ginger (which I hate so I’ve modified this). Instead of a claypot, she made this in a rice cooker (as I have here). I do miss the taste of the crispy burnt rice with dark soy that you find at the bottom of claypots – something I love in the superbly fragrant ones you buy from eateries.
I think the 2 main ingredients you MUST have for this dish are ginger and soy sauce. Some people add dark soy or kecap manis on top of regular soy sauce but I don’t. Dark soy is used for its luscious dark colouring and viscosity. Taste-wise, it’s milder than regular soy sauce. Instead of julienned ginger that my mother used, I grated ginger into the sauce base. Some recipes call for ginger juice but I think it tastes slightly weaker. I hate eating ginger but I do like the taste in some foods. I used to pick out the ginger strips from my mother’s chicken rice and it really annoyed me.
This dish is really simple to make and is one of those you can leave in the rice cooker (since most have the “keep warm” function) for people to dish out whenever they are ready to eat. I’m sure if you have a slow cooker, it’s one of those things you can make before you go to work and come home to. It’s a one-pot-wonder!
Vegetarian Claypot Chicken Rice (aka One Pot Wonder)
Serves 2. Prep time: 5 minutes. Cooking time: 10 minutes + however long your rice cooker takes to cook white rice
1 cup rice
1/2 cup any kind of flavoured soy meat (optional but I used vegetarian lup cheong which I had on hand)
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup cubed firm tofu (about 1/2 block)
2 tablespoon vegetarian (mushroom flavoured) oyster sauce
2 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup frozen veggies (I used green beans and corn)
1/4 cup diced onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoon cooking oil
2 tablespoon of finely chopped spring onions (for garnish)
1. Mix oyster sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil, grated ginger and brown sugar in a bowl.
2. Pour the sauce mixture into rinsed and uncooked rice. Top up with water for cooking the rice, then stir lightly.
3. Set rice to cook.
4. Rinse your frozen veggies to get rid of the freezer smell. Do not heat, cook or thaw otherwise.
5. Pan fry the cubed tofu in 1 tablespoon of oil until light golden brown. (This will help the tofu stay firm and not break apart.) Remove from pan and set aside.
6. Stirfry minced garlic and chopped onions in 1 tablespoon of oil for about 3 minutes until onions soften a little. (This allows the natural sweetness of the onions to be released.)
7. Check in on the rice cooker after about 15 minutes and see if the rice is almost done. There should be some water left (but not a lot) and this really depends on your rice cooker.
8. Add all the ingredients (veggies, tofu, mushrooms, soy meat, onions etc) to the rice and close the lid. Let the ingredients sit on top of the half-cooked rice.
9. Let the rice continue to cook until your rice cooker tells you it’s all done (our rice cooker sings).
10. Once cooked, mix all the ingredients in the rice cooker thoroughly, dish out and garnish with finely sliced spring onions upon serving.
TAH DAH!!! My Chinese casserole… if we ever have kids, I will be serving this at least once a week because it’s just so convenient and nutritious!
I hope you enjoy this dish that is the taste of my childhood weekends and one that T says is 9.5/10!