The basics of this are: cook the rice in a pot, when water begins to dry out put the meats on top. That simple, but you do have to do the timing right additionally the quality and freshness of your ingredients is greatly apparent in the finished product. So keep that in mind in getting your ingredients. The cooking of the meats (chicken and sausage) plus whatever veg you include is done gently by the steam rising from the cooking rice underneath. It can be done either by putting the pot on a stove top or by cooking in a ceramic bowl in a steamer. You can order this dish as a dimsum in most Chinese restaurant but usually the dimsum version is small and enough only for one person. There is no reason why you cannot make this in a big pot enough for a family.
I remember well where I tasted my best chicken rice pot. I was working in the offices of a big construction company in Mongkok, Hong Kong. My colleagues dragged me to a nearby hole-in-a-wall eatery for lunch. I couldn't remember the name due to the sign all in Chinese characters. The dingy small restaurant served nothing but rice pots - of all different kinds/toppings - but except for drinks - serves nothing else. I was wondering how they could survive in such a very limited menu and I could imagine they have slow days as well since rice pots are not very popular in the summer. Anyway, I naturally had to turn to my colleagues to translate for me that I wanted a very safe chicken with mushrooms. I had to do this because whenever I open my mouth to talk in Cantonese I'm thinking I can earn a living being a stand-up comedian - they all laugh at me all the time! Ai-yah! Cantonese intonations are sheer torture!! Hah, but I can swear in the dialect like any of them, usually I'm more fearless because I don't know what the hell I'm talking about - hahaha! My gawd, I'm digressing so much. As I was saying, after ordering we had to wait for about 25 minutes before we get our nourishment. I was puzzled why the long wait, this is not a Michelin starred venue, why do we have to wait that long? It turned out they only put the crocks in their steamer after you've ordered so that everything is ultra fresh.
When I had a taste of their creation I became a believer (cue - Monkees song). It was sublime! The aroma it brought forth was just fabulous - the steam from the rice, the shiitake mushroom, the chicken was so fresh it was a bit sweetish. The simplicity of it was magnificent - the subtle cooking that brings out the best flavour of the ingredients - really mahvelous dahlings! And not in a small way, the soy based sauce they poured greatly enhanced the aroma and taste. I read somewhere that Chinese chefs are very secretive about this pouring sauce so much so that they never entrust the mixing of it to their assistant chefs. Certainly in that resto there must be a demand, for a saw a great many, actually crates, of these pouring sauce in their own brand name. I didn't realise the influence of that sauce to the dish so I did not buy one. But from then on I was hooked and went about trying to reproduce it at home.
The Chinese sausage I used is only about 4 1/2 inches long that's why I used four. If it was the regular variety (which is about 7 inches long) I would normally use 2 links. You can use the regular variety or the liver sausage type. These types of sausages are always available in Chinese groceries. They were air dried to take out most of the moisture hence they have a shrivelled appearance (like a blogger getting too much radiation glow from a PC monitor, now who could that be? ... Hmmm). :LOL:
The best compliment I got this evening was from my husband who, once I opened the lid and this great aroma permeated our kitchen, said it transported him back to a street in the Happy Valley-Wan Chai area where he was a regular customer of streetside turo-turo (eateries) there. He said "Ahh, smells like Hong Kong." while he tucked in eagerly. Kain na! (Let's eat!)
Chicken and Chinese Sausage Rice Pot
500 gm chicken - cut into cite sized pieces
2 cups rice
4 Chinese dry black mushrooms
4 links Chinese sausages - cut into 1/2-inch diagonal pieces
1 medium onion - sliced
2 green onions - cut into 1-inch pieces
1 Tbsp minced green onions
1 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp light soy sauce
1/2 Tbsp cooking wine
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp minced ginger
2 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice wine (or cooking wine)
1/2 tsp sugar
drops of sesame oil
- Mix all ingredients for the marinade in a bowl. Add chicken, mix well. Set aside and marinate for at least 30 minutes.
- Soak mushrooms in hot water for 10 minutes. Remove then squeeze out excess water. Cut out and discard stems and slice caps into four sections.
- Put rice in a clay pot (or any medium sized pot preferably a thick one that will hold heat well) and rinse several times to remove excess starch and avoid cooked rice from being malata (gummy). Level off the rice and add enough water to reach up to the first joint of your middle finger. This is about 2cm (3/4 inch) from the rice to the water level.
- Cover and cook on high until it boils. When it reaches boiling point reduce heat to low.
- While the rice is not yet boiling, heat oil in a wok and stir fry the onion, green onion, chicken, sausage, and mushrooms for 3 minutes.
- Once you see that the rice is levelling off and the water is just beginning to dry out, add the stir fried meats on top of the rice. Cover and DO NOT lift the lid for about 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix all ingredients for the sauce in a small saucepan and heat to near boiling.
- When the 25 minutes is over, serve the rice pot right away. Pour the heated sauce on top and sprinkle the minced green onion.