Tuesday 11 April 2017

Claypot Rice with Salted Fish 咸鱼砂锅饭

I will keep this Claypot Rice with Salted Fish 咸鱼砂锅饭 short and sweet (with lots of pictures) as I had already written a Rice-cooker Version of Claypot Rice in August, 2015.  This is a more traditional way of cooking in a claypot over fire on a stove. Taste wise, they should not differ to great extent.

However, I do have higher expectations from this traditional version of Claypot Rice with Salted Fish 咸鱼砂锅饭 as it would allow me to cook till there's a layer of burnt rice bits. This is exactly what I have been trying to achieve by using the traditional claypot. I'm hoping the flavours and fragrance to be just like how we like them from the hawkers. My methods of cooking may not be exactly authentic and traditional as I prefer to sauté my ingredients beforehand to allow more aromas and colours out of them. I believe my family members are receptive as they have always come back for more whenever I cook this dish for them.

Ingredients (enough for 4 pax) :
  • a pair of chinese sausage (腊肠) sliced to thin pieces
  • 8 pcs chicken mid wings  
  • 4 to 5 pcs of dried mushrooms (soaked and sliced to thin pieces). Keep the mushroom water (about 2.5 cups)
  • a piece of finger size salted fish (梅香咸鱼) chopped to small bits
  • 2.5 cups of rice (washed and drained)
  • 500 to 600 ml water (subject to your claypot size)(include water from soaking mushrooms and dried shrimps) 
  • 3 slices of ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp dried shrimps (pre-soaked)
  • 1/2 tbsp Knorr's Hao Chi Seasonings (to taste)  
  • a cup of romaine lettuce (washed and cleaned)
  • a little coriander, spring onions and red cut chilli for garnishing
  • cooking oil

Seasonings for Chicken Mid Wings :

  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp sesame oil 
  • 1 tbsp light soy sauce 

The Dark Sauce :

  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp fish sauce 
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp hot water

    (tsp = teaspoon; tbsp = tablespoon) 

    Method :
    1. Soak rice grains for 1 hour before cooking. If you do not pre-soak, you may end up with burnt rice at the bottom and uncooked rice on top.
    2. Marinate chicken mid wings with seasonings.
    3. In a non-sticking pan/wok, lightly stir fry Chinese sausage (腊肠) and put aside.
    4. Drain dried shrimps and lightly sauté. Put aside.
    5. Lightly sauté mushrooms and set aside.
    6. Lightly sauté salted fish bits. At this juncture, add 1-2 tbsp cooking oil into the pan. The cooking oil in the pan would be infused with fragrance from the salted fish.
    7. Remove salted fish bits from pan/wok and set aside. Leave the cooking oil in the pan/wok.
    8. Fold in mid wings and pan sear for 1 minute on each side. Set aside. 
    9. Add a tbsp cooking oil into claypot and turn on low-medium heat.
    10. Fold in aromatics such as ginger slices, garlic, dried shrimps and a little spring onions for a quick stir fry.
    11. Only remove chopped spring onions from the claypot. Fold in drained rice.
    12. Add Knorr's Hao Chi seasoning powder into pot and use a spoon to give the rice and seasonings a quick stir.
    13. Fold in 450-500 ml water (i.e. the water used for soaking mushrooms and dried shrimps). Adjust water in accordance to your pot size. The rule of thumb is that the water level should be about 1 cm above rice grains.
    14. Cover lid and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
    15. Remove lid after 5 minutes. Water level should be cooked down substantially. At this juncture, fold in all the ingredients that were set aside earlier (i.e. Chinese sausages, chicken mid wings, mushrooms, salted fish bits).
    16. Fold in about another 100 ml water. 
    17. Cover lid again and allow to simmer for 20 to 25 minutes in low heat. Do note that time may shorten or lengthen subject to claypot size. 
    18. Between 20 to 25 minute mark, you should start to smell the burnt rice from the claypot. 
    19. Wait for 1 to 2 minutes and open lid to check if the rice is fully cooked. If so, turn off heat. Otherwise, cover lid and simmer for further 1 to 2 minutes. If you had pre-soaked your rice grains, your rice should be fully cooked by then.
    20. Turn off heat. Leave the lid on for 5 more minutes.
    21. Transfer claypot to dining table, arrange vegetables, garnishings and add dark sauce (1 tbsp by 1 tbsp to taste test to your liking).
    22. Drizzle with a tbsp of cooked oil (熟油), stir everything in the claypot together and serve whilst hot.

    (scroll to bottom of page, click on "Print" or "PDF" icon for printer friendly recipe)

    Washing the Burnt Claypot
    Just a little tip in getting rid of the burnt rice at the bottom of the claypot after the meal. What I normally do with the burnt pot is to fill it with water, boil it. Cover the lid and leave it there till the next morning. By the next day, you would realise most of the burnt pieces would be dissolved like porridge. If they're still stubborn, fill water and boil second time. No stress!



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