It is mesmerising to watch how street vendors make this Clay pot Chicken Rice (Nasi Ayam Clapot) dish as it takes multi-tasking to a whole new level. They have 10–12 charcoal stoves on the go at the same time, placing the clay pots with rice on top of the hob as the orders come in. As the rice and chicken are cooked, the rice forms an almost burnt crust, which gives the dish smokiness. The clay pot will need to be soaked if you’re using it for the first time. Alternatively, you can use a lidded casserole dish.
– 3 dried shiitake mushrooms
– 150g boneless chicken thighs, sliced
– 1 tbsp vegetable oil
– 10g fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
– 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
– 1 Chinese sausage (lap cheong), sliced
– 4 tbsp sweet soy sauce
– 1 tbsp light soy sauce
– 3 tbsp water
– 200g jasmine rice
– steamed bok choi, to serve (optional)
– Bird’s-eye Chilli and Soy Dip and Stir-fried Lettuce, to serve (optional)
For the marinade
– ½ tsp light soy sauce
– Large pinch of caster sugar
– ½ tbsp cornflour
1. Put the dried shiitake mushrooms in a bowl, cover with cold water and set aside to rehydrate for 2 hours. You can speed up the rehydration by covering them with just-boiled water, if you prefer. Drain the mushrooms, squeeze them to discard excess water and cut off and discard the stalks. Quarter the mushrooms and set them aside.
2. Meanwhile, put the chicken in a bowl and add the marinade ingredients. Stir and leave to marinate for at least 20 minutes
at room temperature, or 2 hours (covered) in the fridge.
3. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the ginger and garlic and fry until fragrant, then add the sliced sausage and fry for a further minute. Add the marinated chicken and the mushrooms to the pan and continue to fry until the chicken turns opaque. Add half the sweet soy sauce and all the water. Continue to fry for a further 2 minutes (the chicken needs to be nearly cooked through). Set aside.
4. Wash the rice in cold water and drain, then repeat twice with fresh cold water. This will get rid of excess starch.
5. Transfer the drained rice to the clay pot, then fill it with water, until the water sits about 2.5cm above the rice. Bring it to the boil over a medium heat then turn the heat down to a low simmer.
6. After about 10 minutes, once the rice has absorbed nearly all the water, put the chicken mixture on top of the rice and cover the clay pot. Continue to cook on the hob over a low heat for a further 10–13 minutes. The rice will form a crust at the bottom of the pot. Serve with Bird’s-eye Chilli and Soy Dip and the lettuce on the side.
Crowned Masterchef Champion 2014 Ping Coombes has become a global ambassador for Malaysian Food. In her debut book Malaysia: Recipes from a Family Kitchen, Ping Coombes shares all the secrets and delights of this extraordinary cuisine. Drawing inspiration from her mother and from the late-night stalls and street markets in her hometown of Ipoh, Ping has put together over 100 delicious recipes that serve as a perfect introduction to the tastes and textures of Malaysian cooking. Chilli crab and caramel pork, spicy laksas and rendangs, satays and tangy sambals: these classic dishes are intensely satisfying to make, share and devour!
Welcome to Ping’s family table – and as Ping’s mother would say, ‘sek fan la!’: come and eat!