I still have lots of photos to share from the Charleston Wine +Food Festival, but first — we need to talk about rice cooker claypot chicken rice. A couple of weeks ago, my friend Melanie clued me in on this extremely easy and super addictive recipe from Lucky Peach’s 101 Easy Asian Recipes. I’m addicted to Asian claypot dishes. My favorite version is Vietnamese kha ko to (claypot fish), which is chunks of flaky white fish cooked in a sweet, sticky savory caramelized sauce. Similarly, I love claypot chicken. It’s not something that I ever thought I could make at home, though, mainly because I don’t have a tiny claypot or a roaring hot wok fire in my kitchen. Oh, but would if I could. Would if I could.
I love Asian claypot dishes so much that when Melanie sent me this recipe for a rice cooker claypot chicken rice, I raced downstairs during my lunch break to pull all the ingredients out of my kitchen and try it (it helps that I keep dried shiitake mushrooms and miso paste on hand at all times).
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The recipe only requires minimal prep — just a mixture of oyster sauce, soy sauce, Chinese cooking wine, miso, sesame oil, sugar and salt — which then gets slathered over chunks of boneless chicken thighs. Then, after you’ve thoroughly coated the chicken thighs in this mixture, all you do is scatter the chicken over uncooked rice, broth and ginger in a rice cooker and top the whole thing with chopped scallions. The chicken cooks with the rice in just one cycle of the rice cooker.
By the time the chime on my rice cooker dinged, I’ll admit that I was skeptical that the rice cooker claypot chicken rice would actually be tasty, filling and, most importantly, finished. I popped open the lid to my rice cooker, and a heady aroma of earthy mushrooms and salted chicken wafted towards me. Oh, holy moly. The rice was soft and pleasingly sticky on the bottom, having crisped just a little on the bottom (to form a kind of soy-flavored Chinese soccarat). The chicken was juicy and tender. And the entire meal was stupidly easy to make.
I’ve made this rice cooker claypot chicken rice three times now. Each time, it’s turned out just as good, although I’ve doubled both the rice and broth, since there never seemed to be enough rice to go around using Lucky Peach’s recipe. I can’t think of a reason why any busy person shouldn’t have this recipe in his or her arsenal. Seriously — spend your time with your family or mindlessly watching reality TV after work and let your rice cooker make your dinner while you do either or both.
Cooking’s too hard, anyway.
rice cooker claypot chicken rice
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoons Shaoxing wine although any dry white cooking wine would do
- 1 tablespoons white miso
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- ground pepper to taste
- 4 boneless chicken thighs cut into 1" pieces (remove 1/2 the skins)
- 8 fresh shiitake mushroom caps thinly sliced, or 4 dried shiitakes, soaked, stemmed, and thinly sliced
- 2 cups jasmine or other medium-grain rice rinsed and drained
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 slice ¼" thick fresh ginger
- 2 scallions cut into 1" pieces, plus more diced scallions for garnish
- If you're using dried shiitakes, soak your mushrooms in hot water to soften them quickly.
- While the shiitakes are soaking, combine the soy sauce, oyster sauce, wine, miso, salt, sugar, sesame oil and ground pepper, whisking the mixture to break up any chunks of miso.
- Toss in the chicken thigh pieces (note: the original recipe calls for the skin to stay on the chicken thighs, but I removed about 1/2 the skins so that the chicken would be less greasy) and stir to coat the chicken thoroughly.
- Combine the rice, broth and ginger in the inner pot of your rice cooker. Spoon the chicken thigh mixture on top and sprinkle the scallions on top. Set your rice cooker to cook and let it run for one cycle.
- When the rice cooker finishes cooking, open the rice cooker and check to make sure that the chicken has cooked through. If it hasn't, you may have to turn the rice cooker back on and let it run another 5-6 minutes.
- Top with more diced scallions and serve.