One of the things I look forward to on the weekend is the Good Weekend magazine that comes with the Saturday Sydney Morning Herald. Not only is it packed full of insightful features, it also comes with lighter, more accessible tidbits of information and trivia. But all this good stuff is lost on me. Initially, that is. Because the first time I open the magazine I dive straight into the Food section. Some of Sydney, Melbourne and London’s finest chefs and restaurant critics contribute to this section. Over the years I have found some great recipe ideas here.
This recipe, originally called Clay Pot Chicken Rice, was contributed by restaurant critic Terry Durack. It reminds me of the clay pot dishes served in Singapore’s hawker centres. I like to think of this recipe as the “mother” of chicken rice dishes. First, because necessity is the mother of invention. Not having a clay pot to hand, I have modified the recipe a bit. My version uses a rice cooker instead of a clay pot. I think it makes the recipe a tad easier to prepare. Second, I consider this dish the mother-in-law pleaser. Mine has declared it her favourite.
One final note. The onions weren’t part of the original recipe. But one time I forgot to get shallots so I used onions instead. It turned out later that I had stumbled on to something. The onions when fried added another dimension of sweetness to the dish. And so the onions stayed.
- 4 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp Chinese (Xiao Xing) rice wine
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp cornflour
- 1 tbsp ginger, cut into matchsticks
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 spring onions or scallions (or shallots in Australia), finely sliced
- 300 gms chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 Chinese sausages (lup cheong), finely sliced diagonally
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil
- 100 ml light chicken stock
- 1 red finger chili, sliced diagonally (optional)
- 300 gms jasmine rice, well-rinsed and drained
- 550 ml light chicken stock
How To Cook Rice Cooker Chicken Rice
Soak the shiitake mushrooms in lukewarm water for about 30 minutes. Drain, cut the stems off – they tend to remain tough even after soaking – and slice the tops.
In a large bowl, mix the soy sauce, sesame oil, Chinese rice wine, sugar, cornflour, ginger, onion and half the spring onions. Add the chicken, sausage and mushrooms to the marinade. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for an hour.
Cook the rice as normal in the rice cooker but using chicken stock instead of water. The amount of stock may vary according to the amount required by your rice cooker.
When the rice starts to boil, heat the oil in a wok or frypan and cook the chicken mixture and its marinade for about 3 minutes. Turn the chicken and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the remaining 100 ml stock and bring to the boil, stirring. You may need to take the chicken off the heat while waiting for the rice to cook.
As soon as the rice cooker switches from “cook” to “warm”, spoon the chicken mixture on top of the rice, cover tightly and leave the rice cooker on for another 10 minutes. Garnish with chili and the remaining shallots and serve.
A bottle of Tiger Beer would have been the perfect complement to this dish. But in keeping with the “mother of invention” theme, a Crown Lager will have to do – it’s what I have in my fridge.