Clay Pot Rice (煲仔飯)

Luscious toppings, perfect rice, and a crunchy crust, served in the coolest cooking vessel!

flodesk gif
Prep Time
20 min
Total Time
55 min
Yields
4 servings

A Recipe by Daddy Lau

My dad's been cooking Chinese food for over 50 years - as a kid fending for himself in Guangzhou, as the head chef of his own restaurant, and as a loving father in our home.

Hopefully, by learning this recipe, you'll get to experience some of the delicious joy we felt growing up eating his food!

- Randy

Presentation! It's time to impress. Actually, the beautiful clay pot is a big contributor to the amazing texture of the famous Clay Pot Rice. We're going to sneak some technique in there too, and it's easier to pull off than you might think.

At first look, it's a pretty simple dish: a layer of juicy meat or other toppings over rice, cooked and served in a pretty earthenware pot. That clay pot does more than sit pretty, though. Because of the clay material, it retains heat evenly, so everything inside steams together, and their juices and flavors all combine harmoniously.

As a bonus (for some, this is arguably not a bonus, but the main reason to eat this dish in the first place), rice cooked in a clay pot develops a scorched crust, called 飯焦 faan6 ziu1 in Cantonese. Similar to the scorched rice in Korean stone pot bibimbap or Spanish paella, it's just shy of burnt and beautifully crunchy.

Thank you, Kikkoman!

This recipe is brought to you in part by Kikkoman. My dad has been using Kikkoman flavors throughout his 50-year career as a chef, and it's a privilege to get to partner with them on such an iconic recipe, Clay Pot Rice!

  • Kikkoman products are a major flavor enhancer and bring out the “umami” taste, and helps balance and round out flavors
  • Kikkoman® Less Sodium Soy Sauce is perfect for home cooks who are looking to cut down on their sodium levels, without sacrificing flavor
  • Kikkoman offers wide range of Gluten-Free Asian sauces, including Gluten-Free Oyster Sauce and Gluten-Free Hoisin Sauce
  • The KikkomanUSA.com Chinese site offers easy Asian recipes that home cooks can enjoy any night of the week

You can learn more about Kikkoman and follow them on social media here:

Check out a quick story summary of our recipe!

Ingredients

Weight: US
oz
g
Volume: US
cup
mL
Servings
4

Main Ingredients

  • 10 oz long grain rice (

    Thai jasmine, or your preferred long grain rice

    )
  • 2 link Chinese sausage
  • 1 piece bone-in chicken thigh
  • 1 piece chicken breast
  • 1 oz dried shiitake mushroom
  • 2 stalk green onion
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 tbsp ginger

Chicken Marinade

  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Soy Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 2 tbsp Kikkoman® Oyster Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 0.50 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp cooking wine
  • 0.25 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Sesame Oil (

    Amazon

    )

Shiitake Mushroom Marinade

  • 0.50 tbsp Kikkoman® Oyster Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 0.50 tsp cornstarch

Sauce

  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Oyster Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Soy Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Tamari Soy Sauce (

    Amazon

    )

Cooking

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 11 oz boiling water
  • 2 tbsp oil

Toppings

Our version of clay pot rice features luscious bites of chicken and savory pieces of mushroom, but there are tons of variations! Try using beef, pork (spare ribs are the most popular), or even seafood.

The signature feature of clay pot rice is that these ingredients are layered over the rice, so while the rice cooks and steams the ingredients above, the juices of those delicious toppings drip down and flavor the rice.

Tamari

Here, we're using tamari, which is interchangeable with dark soy sauce. They both have a subtle sweetness and are often used to give food a slightly darker color.

Tamari is the OG Japanese soy sauce as its recipe is the closest to the soy sauce that was originally introduced to Japan from China.

It contains little or no wheat so it's a perfect alternative for anyone out there that's gluten intolerant. It's mainly made in the Chubu region of Japan and it's a great alternative to dark soy sauce.

Kikkoman offers regular Tamari and Gluten Free Tamari (which is the wheat-free version.)

Wash the rice (10 oz) 3 times, massaging the rice, draining the water and using fresh water for each round. Then, soak it in boiling water for 10 minutes. The hot water will start cooking the rice, speeding up the final cooking process later.

Because the Chinese sausage is dried outside in the sun, my dad prefers to rinse away possible debris before he starts to work with it. Soak the Chinese sausage (2 link) in boiling water.

(The dried shiitake mushrooms (1 oz) will need to be rehydrated in boiling water for about 10 minutes before they're soft enough to cut, so now is a good time to get that ready! Just place the mushrooms in a heat-safe bowl and add enough hot water to cover them.)

Cut the chicken thigh (1 piece) into small pieces. Start by splitting it half down the middle, and then cutting each half into a few smaller pieces, each about 1-2 inches wide. If your chicken thigh also includes the drumstick part, cut that into pieces that are the same size.

If you're not comfortable slamming an enormous cleaver down on the chicken, it's completely fine to set the knife where you plan to cut, and push straight down with your other hand; bird bones are much softer than other types of bone and you will cut through with enough pressure.

Cut the chicken breast (1 piece) half, then into thick slices, about half an inch thick.

This combination of dark and white meat helps to satisfy our family's different preferences, but if you (and your group, if you're sharing) prefer one over the other, you can definitely opt to use just dark or just light meat.

Because there may be bits of bone after cutting the bone-in chicken thigh, you'll want to rinse the cut pieces. Pour water over the cut pieces, give it all a gentle swirl, and then lift each piece out of the water, inspecting each piece for floating bone shards. Put each rinsed, debris-free pieces into a colander. The bone shards will sink to the bottom of the water as you're pulling the chicken pieces out.

Grab the rehydrated shiitake mushrooms, and cut off and discard the stems. Cut the mushrooms into thirds. If your mushrooms are particularly big, or smaller than ours, you can cut them into more pieces or simply halve them.

Squeeze excess water out of the mushrooms. This way, they'll be able to soak up more flavor from the chicken and the sauce.

Finely mince the shallot (1 ) by slicing thinly and then rotating to chop into very small pieces.

Similarly, finely mince the ginger (1 tbsp) by slicing thinly and then rotating to chop into very small pieces.

The green onions (2 stalk) will be for garnish, so make sure that you're not using the knife and cutting board from the chicken, or that your tools have been carefully washed. Dice them into small pieces, and keep them separate from the minced shallot and ginger.

Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. This will help it absorb flavor. Combine the bone-in chicken with the chicken breast.

Create the marinade by mixing Kikkoman® Soy Sauce (1 tbsp), Kikkoman® Oyster Sauce (2 tbsp), salt (0.50 tsp), sugar (1 tsp), cornstarch (1 tbsp), water, cooking wine (1 tsp), and white pepper (0.25 tsp) in a separate bowl. Once well-combined, add the chicken to the bowl and stir until every piece is evenly coated. Then, add the minced shallot and ginger.

To the shiitake mushrooms, add Kikkoman® Oyster Sauce (0.50 tbsp), sugar (1 tsp), and cornstarch (0.50 tsp). Mix until the mushrooms are evenly coated.

Mix up the sauce by combining Kikkoman® Oyster Sauce (1 tbsp), Kikkoman® Soy Sauce (1 tbsp), sugar, and Kikkoman® Tamari Soy Sauce (1 tbsp) in a separate bowl, and put it aside. This sauce will be for pouring over the rice after it's cooked.

My dad recommends using a gas stove when cooking with clay pots. The clay is prone to cracking over direct heat, so if you're using a clay pot on an electric stovetop, you'll want to somehow put some space between the stovepot and the clay pot.

Add the soaked rice to the pot (but not the soaking liquid; you'll measure out the amount you need in just a minute). Add oil (1 tsp) and mix it into the rice. It'll loosen up the rice and help the development of that fragrant, crunchy rice crust. Add boiling water (11 oz), put the lid on, and turn the heat to medium.

With a clay pot, you never want to turn the heat up all the way.

While the rice is starting to cook, mix in oil (1 tbsp) and Kikkoman® Sesame Oil (1 tbsp) to the marinating chicken.

When the water is just about boiling, uncover the pot. Let it keep cooking, and nudge the rice around if you need to, to make sure it's spread out evenly in the pot.

Then, as the rice has absorbed more of the water, begin to layer the meats on top of the rice. Put a link of Chinese sausage on each side, and lay the chicken out in an even layer over the rice. After the chicken, add the mushrooms. Spread them around; if they're in a tall pile, they won't cook evenly.

Once all the ingredients are in, turn the heat to low and cooking for another 5-10 minutes, until you start to the the crackling. That's the oil and the heat working their magic on the edges of the rice.

Scorch Rice

Once you hear the crackling, sizzling sound, the food inside is just about cooked, and it's time to scorch the rice. Because you want maximum crust (you, do, we promise), you'll have to rotate the pot and tilt it over the heat source to scorch the sides of the clay pot.

Turn the heat up to medium.

Use a dry towel, baking mitts or pot holders to hold onto the pot; it's very, very hot! You can also use those silicone grabbers; anything heat-proof that's meant for handling hot baking trays will work great here.

Firmly grip the pot handles, and without letting the lid come off, tilt the pot slightly onto its side so that the side of the pot can come closer to the heat (or, preferably, the flame of your gas range).

Move and tilt the pot so that the heat can scorch the side evenly for about 2 minutes. Then, turn the pot around and repeat the scorching process on the other side.

Then, turn the heat back down to low, and with the lid still on, spoon oil (2 tbsp) all around the edge of the lid so it can seep down into the pot. If you want to get fancy and make this extra aromatic, you can even use lard for this step.

Let it cook on low for 2 more minutes, until you hear the crackling, sizzling sound. Then, repeat the rice scorching process just like before, 2 minutes on either side. Again, be very careful to grip the pot tightly and don't burn yourself! Keep a nose out for signs of burning.

(Then, my dad did an extra minute on each side to get it super extra crispy.)

Please note, if you're using a clay pot that's smaller than ours, like a small single serving pot, you'll want to spend less time on this scorching process. You don't want to burn the rice!

Moment of truth! Take the lid off (finally) and take a second to appreciate the explosion of aroma. Add the diced green onion garnish right on top.

Turn off the heat, but remember that the clay pot is going to stay piping hot for a long time.

The rice is typically served in the clay pot, so you may need to remind your guests that the clay pot is very hot. The Chinese sausage links are still whole, so you'll want to cut them at the table (or quickly at the kitchen counter) and lay them back on top.

Don't forget to serve that delicious sauce! We usually pour a few splashes into the pot of rice, and then keep the rest in a bowl at the table so that everyone can further sauce up their own portions to their personal liking.

FAQ

How do you choose a good clay pot?

  • Unless you live in a bigger Chinese community, you may not have many choices. If you do get choices (yay!) then note your personal preferences.
  • How many people do you usually cook for, so how big of a pot will you need? How big of a pot can you handle? Big ones can get heavy, and you'll have to store them somewhere.
  • Check for quality, like dangerously sharp edges. Be sure that it's not cracked; you can't cook with a cracked pot, or it will leak!

Is there a certain way to take care of clay pots?

  • Make sure you clean it with detergent after every use. Daddy Lau even puts it in the dishwasher.
  • When you put it away, put the lid on askew so that air can circulate.
  • When cooking, never put it on very direct or high heat. If you look through our recipe, it's always on medium or low heat.

Can you cook clay pot rice without a clay pot?

  • You can definitely make the recipe and achieve the right flavor by using other pots, but the exact texture may be difficult to replicate, and my parents say that it won't be as aromatic. But if you can't get your hands on a clay pot, you can use any other pot you like, like your stainless steel or your non-stick pots.
  • Cast iron, while a versatile and fantastic material, is not an ideal replacement for the clay pot. Cast iron conducts heat more slowly, so it would take longer to come up to temperature. Expect that first rice boil to take approximately forever. Also, the heat doesn't distribute as evenly, so it's harder to control the cooking, especially when you're not allowed to look! And you're definitely not allowed to look.

Should you use long grain rice or short grain rice for clay pot rice?

  • My family's always used jasmine rice, which is a fragrant long grain rice. However, if you prefer short grain rice, that'll work too. The rice will be turn out softer, and the texture of the crust will be a bit different.

Summary

Clay Pot Rice (煲仔飯)
Luscious toppings, perfect rice, and a crunchy crust, served in the coolest cooking vessel!
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Total Time: 55 min
  • Yield: 4 servings

Main Ingredients

  • 10 oz long grain rice (

    Thai jasmine, or your preferred long grain rice

    )
  • 2 link Chinese sausage
  • 1 piece bone-in chicken thigh
  • 1 piece chicken breast
  • 1 oz dried shiitake mushroom
  • 2 stalk green onion
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 tbsp ginger

Chicken Marinade

  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Soy Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 2 tbsp Kikkoman® Oyster Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 0.50 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp cooking wine
  • 0.25 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Sesame Oil (

    Amazon

    )

Shiitake Mushroom Marinade

  • 0.50 tbsp Kikkoman® Oyster Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 0.50 tsp cornstarch

Sauce

  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Oyster Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Soy Sauce (

    Amazon

    )
  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman® Tamari Soy Sauce (

    Amazon

    )

Cooking

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 11 oz boiling water
  • 2 tbsp oil

Step 1 - Prepare rice & sausage

↑ Jump to details

Wash the rice (10 oz) 3 times, massaging the rice, draining the water and using fresh water for each round. Then, soak it in boiling water (11 oz) for 10 minutes.

Soak the Chinese sausage (2 link) in boiling water in case of debris.

(The dried shiitake mushrooms (1 oz) will need to be rehydrated in boiling water for about 10 minutes, so now is a good time to get that ready!)

Step 2 - Cut & wash chicken

↑ Jump to details

Cut the chicken thigh (1 piece) into small pieces. Start by splitting it half down the middle, and then cutting each half into a few smaller pieces, each about 1-2 inches wide. If your chicken thigh also includes the drumstick part, cut that into pieces that are the same size.

Cut the chicken breast (1 piece) half, then into thick slices, about half an inch thick.

Because there may be bits of bone after cutting the bone-in chicken thigh, you'll want to rinse the cut pieces. Pour water over the cut pieces, give it a gentle swirl, and then lift each piece out of the water, inspecting each piece for floating bone shards. Put each rinsed, debris-free pieces into a colander.

Step 3 - Prepare vegetables

↑ Jump to details

Grab the rehydrated shiitake mushrooms, and cut off and discard the stems. Cut the mushrooms into thirds.

Squeeze excess water out of the mushrooms.

Finely mince the shallot (1 ) and ginger (1 tbsp).

The green onions (2 stalk) will be for garnish, so make sure that you're not using the knife and cutting board from the chicken, or that your tools have been carefully washed. Dice them into small pieces, and keep them separate from the minced shallot and ginger.

Step 4 - Dry & marinate chicken

↑ Jump to details

Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel, and combined the bone-in thigh and the breast.

Create the marinade by mixing Kikkoman® Soy Sauce (1 tbsp), Kikkoman® Oyster Sauce (2 tbsp), salt (0.50 tsp), sugar (1 tsp), cornstarch (1 tbsp), water, cooking wine (1 tsp), and white pepper (0.25 tsp) in a separate bowl. Once well-combined, add the chicken to the bowl and stir until every piece is evenly coated. Then, add the minced shallot and ginger.

Step 5 - Marinate mushrooms & create sauce

↑ Jump to details

To the shiitake mushrooms, add Kikkoman® Oyster Sauce (0.50 tbsp), sugar (1 tsp), and cornstarch (0.50 tsp). Mix until the mushrooms are evenly coated.

Mix up the sauce by combining Kikkoman® Oyster Sauce (1 tbsp), Kikkoman® Soy Sauce (1 tbsp), sugar, and Kikkoman® Tamari Soy Sauce (1 tbsp) in a separate bowl, and put it aside.

Step 6 - Start cooking in clay pot

↑ Jump to details

Add the soaked rice to the pot. Add oil (1 tsp) and mix it into the rice. Add boiling water (11 oz), put the lid on, and turn the heat to medium.

While the rice is starting to cook, mix in oil (1 tbsp) and Kikkoman® Sesame Oil (1 tbsp) to the marinating chicken.

When the water is just about boiling, uncover the pot. Let it keep cooking, and nudge the rice around if you need to, to make sure it's spread out evenly in the pot.

Then, as the rice has absorbed more of the water, begin to layer the meats on top of the rice. Put a link of Chinese sausage on each side, and lay the chicken out in an even layer over the rice. After the chicken, add the mushrooms.

Once all the ingredients are in, turn the heat to low and cooking for another 5-10 minutes, until you start to the the crackling.

Scorch Rice

Turn the heat up to medium.

Use a dry towel, baking mitts or pot holders for this step. Firmly grip the pot handles, and without letting the lid come off, tilt the pot slightly onto its side so that the side of the pot can come closer to the heat.

Move and tilt the pot so that the heat can scorch the side evenly for about 2 minutes. Then, turn the pot around and repeat the scorching process on the other side.

Then, turn the heat back down to low, and with the lid still on, spoon oil (2 tbsp) all around the edge of the lid so it can seep down into the pot.

Let it cook on low for 2 more minutes, until you hear the crackling, sizzling sound. Then, repeat the rice scorching process just like before, 2 minutes on either side.

Optionally, you can do an extra minute on each side to get it super extra crispy. Keep a nose out for signs of burning.

Please note, if you're using a small, single serve pot, you'll want to spend less time on this scorching process.

Step 7 - Garnish & serve

↑ Jump to details

Take the lid off, and add the diced green onion garnish right on top. Turn off the heat.

The rice is typically served in the clay pot, so you may need to remind your guests that the clay pot is very hot. The Chinese sausage links are still whole, so you'll want to cut them at the table (or quickly at the kitchen counter) and lay them back on top.

Don't forget to serve with that delicious sauce! Pour a few splashes into the pot, and serve the rest of the sauce in a bowl.

Step 8 - Take pictures
Whip out your camera (1). Begin taking photos (1,000,000). Pick your favorites!
Step 9 - Share and tag us on Instagram @madewithlau #madewithlau!
Did you have fun making this recipe? We'd love to see & hear about it. (Especially my dad. He would be THRILLED!)

Enjoy!

We have many, many happy memories of enjoying this dish growing up.

Now, hopefully, you can create your own memories with this dish with your loved ones.

Also, I cordially invite you to eat with us and learn more about the dish, Chinese culture, and my family.

Cheers, and thanks for cooking with us!

Feel free to comment below if you have any questions about the recipe.