“Clay Pot (“?”) Chicken Rice?– Cooking “Clay Pot” Chicken Rice Using Rice Cooker

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UPDATED POST ON 8-1-2015  – New image upload

 

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INTRODUCTION

I have to say that this is not the authentic clay pot chicken rice recipe. It is prepared using conventional rice cooker and I have amended the method of cooking. However, I can assure  readers that the taste will not be compromised much.

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I did not use clay pot to prepare this one pot rice dish for a few reasons. One is that I do not have a clay pot and secondly I do not have the patience and time to monitor cooking rice using clay pots. Thirdly, I believed that even if you use the clay pot but using gas stove to cook, the taste will not be very much different from if you cooked using the rice cooker. In order to have a distinct flavour as what were sold in the eating outlets, conventional stove using charcoal have to be used. Therefore I have opted to use the rice cooker to speed up the preparation.

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CLAYPOT CHICKEN RICE DEFINED

As with other post, it is good to let Wikipedia to explain to the reader this unique dish:

“Clay pot chicken rice (Chinese: 砂煲鸡饭, 瓦煲鸡饭 or 煲仔鸡饭) is usually a dinner dish in the southern regions of China, Malaysia and Singapore. It is typically served with Chinese sausage and vegetables. More often than not, the rice is cooked in the clay pot first and cooked ingredients like diced chicken and Chinese sausage are added in later. Traditionally, the cooking is done over a charcoal stove, giving the dish a distinctive flavour. Some places serve it with dark soya sauce and also dried salted fish. Salted fish enhances the taste of the clay pot chicken rice, depending on the diner’s preference. Due to the time-consuming method of preparation and slow-cooking in a clay pot, customers might have to wait a period of time (typically 15-30 minutes) before the dish is served”  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claypot_chicken_rice)

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WHY THIS DISH

I first try this dish when I studied in Kuala Lumpur during the late 1980’s. What I can always remembered was the long timing I have to wait for any order of clay pot chicken rice. Being a student then, I did not have the patience to wait and ended up usually eating economy rice specially catered for the students.

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When I get married, my wife is a firm supporter of clay pot chicken rice. Whenever there is a chance or when she saw there is a store that sells clay pot chicken rice, she would ordered the dish. However, there are not many clay pot chicken rice stalls in Singapore as compared to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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While I was thinking of what to cook yesterday, my kids were saying that they wanted to eat chicken rice to “break my vegetarian diet fast”! I told them that may be I should let them try another type of chicken rice, but is the darker version of clay pot chicken rice.

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WHAT IS NEEDED

Serves 4-6

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  • 3 –4 cups of uncooked rice (washed and set aside) – not in picture

  • 500 grams of chicken drumstick meat or breast (cut into small pieces)

  • 4 dried Chinese mushrooms (soaked and cut into thin strips)

  • 3 shallots (cut into small pieces)

  • 3 Chinese sausages (sliced into small pieces)

  • Some spring onions – White portion – cut into small pieces and leave the green portion of later use

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  • 3 tablespoons of dark soya sauce Star

  • 3 tablespoons of light soya sauce Star

  • 3 tablespoons of oyster sauce Star

  • 3 tablespoons of sesame oilStar

  • 1 tablespoon of white pepperStar

  • 1 tablespoon of corn flour (not in the picture)

  • 30 grams of ginger

  • 50 grams of salted fish (threadfin or ikan kurau preferred) – (optional)

  • I piece of chicken stock cube

  • Pinches of salt

  • Pinches of sugar (optional)

  • Some smoked pork belly (optional)

Note that smoked pork belly, chicken stock and salted fish are optional.

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

Marinating Chicken Meat

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  • Cut the chicken meat in thin slices. Chopped or shredded the ginger until very fine pieces. Put the chicken meat in a bowl and marinate with ginger, corn flour and HALF of seasonings marked Star. Marinate for at least 1-2 hours. The longer you marinate, the tastier the chicken meat will be.


 

Deep Frying the Salted Fish (Optional)

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  • Tear the salted fish into small strips. Use medium heat to deep fry it until the salted fish become golden brown and crispy. Drain and put in a piece of oil absorbent paper. Set aside for later use.

Note that this step is optional. In this illustration, I have prepared a lot of salted fish for my other dishes. This salted fish was especially good to go with white porridges and fried rice.

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Shallow Frying the Chinese Sausage and Smoked Pork Belly

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  • In a frying pan, put a few tablespoons of cooking oils and stir fry the Chinese sausage for a few minutes under MEDIUM heat. Note that this step is also optional. As for me, I would think that this step will enhance the flavour of the Chinese sausages.

  • Using high heat, use the same oil to stir fry the mushroom slices and chopped shallots plus spring onions until fragrant.

  • At the meantime, wash your rice and dilute the chicken stock cube with some water and set aside.

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  • When the shallots and mushrooms are fragrant, add in the washed rice. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the REMAINING HALF of the seasonings marked Star to the rice. Stir fry of 2-3 minutes until the rice are evenly coated with with the seasonings such as the oyster sauce and dark soya sauce.

  • Add in chicken stock and 3-4 cups of water OR as per the rice cooking illustration in the rice packaging. As the rice had been soaked already, therefore, you may want to reduce the water slightly such that the rice will not be soggy. If you prefer, you can taste a bit of the uncooked rice and assess if there is a need to adjust the taste by adding additional condiments.

  • Cook in the conventional rice cooker using the normal rice cooking function or if you are rushing for time, cook using the “Quick Cook” function.

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  • Open your rice cooker at about 2/3 of the rice cooking cycle, or check if there are bubbles in the rice and water has started to reduce.

  • When the rice is about 2/3 cooked, put in 1 tablespoon of deep fried salted fish (optional), green portion of the spring onion, chicken strips and Chinese sausages on top of the half cooked rice. Continue cooking until the rice cooker indicates that the rice is cooked. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Note that every rice cooker is different. You have to occasionally open the rice cooker to check the progress of the cooking. For example, if your rice cooker’s rice cooking function is 30 minutes per cycle, you can check the rice cooker at say 20 minutes after you started the cooking. When the rice cooker function is off, the steam will continue to cook the chicken meat and therefore, served only 10-15 minutes later.

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  • Best serve hot and garnish with additional spring onions or coriander leaves. If you preferred, you can put some deep fried salted fish or shallots on top of your rice. It goes well with freshly cut chilli dip in dark soya sauce.

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CONCLUSION

This simpler way of cooking have cut short the cooking time by at least one hour as compared to the traditional cooking method using charcoal stove and clay pot with minimal compromise to the taste.  In addition, it is easier to control the texture of the rice .

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I have pre-seasoned the rice before it is cooked and unlike traditional method, some dark soya sauce was poured on top of the white rice resulting in uneven distribution of spices and soya sauces in the cooked rice. Depending on your taste buds, salted fish or even Chinese sausages are optional. The must haves in this rice dish are the chicken, ginger, sesame oil, oyster sauce and dark soya sauce. With these minimal ingredients, you can produce an equally satisfactory “clay pot” chicken rice.

Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.  

 

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What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 1-8-2013

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On 1 August 2013, white rice served with:

1 Blanched broccoli and asparagus with chicken fillets 芥兰芦笋鸡柳
2 Oyster mushroom and button mushroom chicken soup 双菇鸡汤
3 Minced chicken fried with pineapple stripes 凤梨炒鸡丝

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All dishes were cooked with chicken today.

I bought a chicken, as I don’t want to keep it, I just blanched the fillet and breast for the vegetable dish, use the drumstick and other bones for making the soup and part of tights to fry with pineapples. Dish are rather common and nothing really worth mentioning it. The chicken soups looked a bit oily and if I want i can just froze it and scrap away the oil to make it clearer.

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As I have coated the chicken breast with corn flowers, it is unusual that my girl loves the meat. She is a “herbivore” and asking her to eat meat is really a challenge to me. For this dish, she fight with her brothers for the meat..Haha, gradual transition from herbivore to omnivore.

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As I have some black glutinous rice and barley that I bought over from Sarawak, I have prepared Black Glutinous Rice and Barley Sweet Porridge (血糯薏米甜粥). The way of preparing it is rather Chinese style. Red jujube were added to further increase the mineral content. This dessert is beneficial to women who are having their menstrual periods as all ingredients were packed with iron. Black glutinous rice is rather difficult to digest and therefore inclusion of barley will help to improve the digestions. To make it even smoother, you can blend the porridge, and some milk or coconut milk or cream.


Lastly, as I have some leftover bread , I make it into some simple bruschetta. I especially loved the toasted herbs bread with the freshly cut tomato seasoned with Italian herbs.

Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.

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Special – What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 22-7-2013–Korma Chicken (科尔马鸡肉)

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UPDATED POST ON 16-2-2015 – Update with another set of images since i cooked the dish today.

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On 22 July, 2013, white rice served with:

  1. Korma Vegetable and Chicken       (蔬菜及鸡肉科尔马)
  2. Blanched Ladies Finger                 (青烫羊角豆)
  3. Chinese Cabbage (Napa) Soup       ( 大白菜汤)

To day, I have decided to cook Korma Chicken and Vegetable to expose my kids to curry dishes. As per my daughter’s request, no additional dishes were needed since she said she liked the dish and they have the Chinese Cabbage (Napa) soup which I cooked for lunch.

I agreed with her and just blanched some ladies finger to go with the Korma dish. If you want detailed pictorial instructions on cooking the Chinese Cabbage (Napa) Soup, you can follow the link above to Guaishushu’s Facebook Page.

 


KORMA CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES

 

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INTRODUCTION

I first tasted Korma chicken during my university days in Kuala Lumpur. It was in a Malay store  and when I take the first bite, I immediately fell in love with it as it is not spicy hot and the chicken is full of coriander fragrances. It had always in my mind because unlike other chicken curry dishes, the curry is beige in colour (depending on the spice mix) as opposed to the reddish yellow colour.

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Korma is actually a dish from South or Central Asia such as India and Pakistan. It is essentially cooked with a variety of spice powders of which the two most important spices are coriander  powder and cumin powder. It differ from the normal curry spice mix in that the ratio of turmeric powder is very small whereas for curry, the major portion of the spice mix is turmeric thus causes the dish to be yellowish in colour. In Malaysia, the Korma was cooked and thickened with coconut milk as compared to India and Pakistan where yoghurt were used. Nuts and peas  (such as cashew nuts and almonds) usually added to further thicken the gravy and enhance the taste.

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WHY THIS DISH

Recently, I found that my kids start to like curry dishes. However, before they eat the curry dishes, they will get ready a cup of cold water, take the curry chicken, dip into the cold water and start eating it. They still cannot take spicy hot food that were cooked with chilli. In view of this, I am thinking of letting them to try some Malay and Indian dishes that were not spicy hot. The first thing that comes to my mind is Korma chicken (ayam kurma in Malay). Therefore, last Saturday, when I frequented one  of the Indian Muslim spice stalls in Geylang Serai Singapore, I asked the same lady who gave me the Sarawak Laksa spice mix to pack me one Korma spice mix. You can read my previous “spice encounter” HERE.

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Another reason that I cooked this dish is for purposes of contributing to a food community in Google Plus whereby members were encouraged to contribute halal dishes during the month of Ramadan.

I love to eat Korma chicken. However, today, I have used more vegetables than meat in my Korma.  As my kids don’t really like to eat meat, hence I have used about 5 vegetables to make the dish. Should it be called a vegetable or chicken Korma is entirely up to you since it have almost equal portion of meats and vegetables in the dish. Smile

As this Korma dish uses small chicken chunks from drumsticks and vegetables, it is rather easy to cook, as such braising is consider not really necessary as compared to the traditional braising of lamb or big chicken pieces.

 


KORMA DISHES DEFINED

As per Wikipedia,

Korma, kormaa, qorma, khorma, or kurma is a dish originating in South Asia or Central Asia which can be made with yogurt, cream, nut and seed pastes or coconut milk. It is a type of curry.

It is a characteristic Indian dish which can be traced back to the 16th century and to the Mughal incursions into present-day Northern India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Classically, a korma is defined as a dish where meat or vegetables are braised with water, stock, and yogurt or creamy azid (the name is in fact derived from the Hindi and Urdu words for “braise”). The technique covers many different styles of korma (azid).

The flavour of a korma is based on a mixture of spices, including ground coriander and cumin, combined with yogurt kept below curdling temperature and incorporated slowly and carefully with the meat juices. Traditionally, this would have been carried out in a pot set over a very low fire, with charcoal on the lid to provide all-round heat. A korma can be mildly spiced or fiery and may use lamb, chicken, beef or game; some kormas combine meat and vegetables such as spinach and turnip. The term Shahi (English: Royal), used for some kormas indicates its status as a prestige dish, rather than an everyday meal, and its association with the court.

 


WHAT IS REQUIRED?

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  • 1.5 cups of tomatoes cut into big pieces;
  • 1.5 cups of onions cut into big pieces;
  • 1.5 cups of potatoes cut into big pieces;
  • 1.5 cups of carrots cut into big pieces;
  • 1.5 cups of celery cut into big pieces;
  • 750 grams of chicken tights cut into big pieces;

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  • 200 gram of Korma mix (readily available in most Indian provision shops or spices stalls). However, If you can’t get hold of the ready mix Korma spice, the two most spices are coriander powder and cumin powder in the ration of about 4:2. All other spices shall include cardamom, anise powder, fennel powders, turmeric all of which shall need a 1-2 teaspoon only).
  • 1 cup of yoghurt (optional but I have used it as I like the korma to be rich in flavour but slightly sour).
  • 2 cups of fresh coconut milk .
  • 1/2 cups of cooking oil or ghee or butters.

 


STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • In a big mixing bowl, put the Korma spice powder and gradually add in water until it form a paste.
  • Have about 2-3 big tablespoons Korma spice mix and marinate for at least 15-30 minutes. As the chicken is quite small, therefore 15-30 minutes is deemed sufficient.

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  • In a big pot, put some cooking oils and fried the Korma spice mix until the fragrance starts to permeates the space.
  • Add 3 big cups of water, stir until the spices are well mixed.
  • Bring to boil until high heat. Note that as this is quite concentrated, you have to constantly stir it until it boils. This is to avoid the spice getting burnt in the bottom of the pot. Once boiled, turn the heat to medium or slow heat.

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  • Add in the potatoes, celery, carrots and onions and boiled for about 10 minutes;
  • Add in chicken chunks and boiled for about 20 minutes;
  • Add in tomato and boiled for another 5 minutes;
  • Add in yoghurt and coconut milk, seasonings (salt and sugar). Once boil, off the heat and let it sit in the pot for at least 5-10 minutes to let the ingredients further absorbed the gravy.
  • Garnish with fresh coriander leaves or mint and served with hot rice. Drizzle more yoghurt or coconut milk on top of the dish if necessary.

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CONCLUSIONS

  • Korma dish is a common dish among the Indian households in South and Central Asian. it is equally popular in Malaysia and Singapore especially among the Malay and Indian races. It is a form of curry dishes of which the main spices are coriander powder and cumin. It differs from curry in that the proportion of turmeric is very small and it can be cooked without chilli those making it rather “kids friendly”. The gravy were usually thickened with yoghurt or coconut milks and at times nuts such as cashew nuts and almonds were added.
  • The dish that were illustrated today uses lots of vegetables including celery which is not a common vegetable included in the curry dishes. However, celery is definitely a good choice as it could withstand rather long hours of cooking though the strong celery flavour were masked by the strong Korma aroma. As I have use drumstick meat, it is rather easy to cook and the texture is soft as compared to the breast meat.

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Hope you LIKE the post today and cheers.


 

 

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