Claypot Rice 砂锅饭 (Sha Po Fan) or 煲仔飯 (Bow Zai Fan)

Another of my childhood favourite. This however, is a version in a London home kitchen without the claypot! The principle is the same and the taste is almost as authentic, very close I must say. This is a very popular Chinese rice casserole dish in Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Southern China mainly. It’s a one pot wonder as long as you prepare everything in advance. There are a few versions but I am going for the most traditional option (as always) with chicken, Chinese sausages (腊肠 Lap Cheong) and dried shrimps (instead of salted fish).

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • 8 x Chinese Sausages 腊肠 (Lap Cheong) sliced
  • 1kg Organic Chicken thighs and drumsticks (chopped)
  • 20g Dried Shrimps
  • 4 cups (900g) of Jasmine Rice
  • Ginger (4 x 3cm) finely sliced, Julienne
  • 2 cloves of Garlic (finely chopped)
  • Spring Onions (Julienne)
  • 8 tbsp Oyster Sauce
  • 3 tbsp Dark Soy Sauce
  • 2 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
  • 2 tsp Fish Sauce
  • 1 tsp Cornflour
  • 100ml Shaoxing Wine
  • 10-12 dried Shiitake Mushrooms (soaked and sliced)
  • 1 litre Stock + water from mushroom
  • Sesame Oil
  • Carrots (chopped into cubes)
  • Vegetables: Frozen Peas and Spinach (or use Chinese Broccoli, Pak Choy to be more authentic)
  • Pinch of salt and pepper to taste
  • Coriander and spring onions to garnish
Claypot Rice served


First, prepare the chicken thighs and drumsticks. Chop them into big chunks (keep the bone). If you have time, marinate the chicken chunks in oyster sauce, dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, cornflour and 50ml of Shaoxing wine and a drizzle of sesame oil, for at least an hour.

Sliced Lap Cheong 腊肠

Next, slice the Chinese sausages. Soak the dried shrimps for about 10 minutes. Wash the dried Shiitake mushrooms thoroughly and slice them. I like to keep a few as whole. Keep the water to be added to the stock later.

Now, usually this is cook in a claypot but of course in a modern day London home kitchen, I don’t actually own a claypot. Even if I did, it won’t work on my induction hob. So, I use large non-stick pot.

First, heat up some sesame oil. Add in the finely chopped garlic, ginger and Lap Cheong 腊肠 and dried shrimps. Fry until it’s fragrant. Then, add in the marinated chicken (without its marinating sauce). Fry for about 8 minutes to seal the chicken pieces. Now, add the sauces, sliced mushrooms, carrots and spring onion. Mix everything together and fry over medium heat.

Frying the chicken chunks, Chinese sausages, carrots and Shiitake mushroom

Rinse 4 cups of Jasmine Rice. Pour the rice in to the pot. Mix well and cook for a further 3 minutes. Slowly add in the stock. I do it in 4 parts. Then, add the fish sauce, ground pepper and salt if necessary (I don’t). Mix everything together but try to keep the rice at the bottom. Add the whole mushroom and another drizzle of sesame oil and the other 50ml of Shaoxing wine. Bring to a boil then simmer under low heat. Now, try not to mix the pot again. Let it cook for 30 – 40 minutes. If necessary, you may rotate the pot (similar to the cooking of paella). Every 10 minutes check on the pot. Before the last 12 minutes, add in the vegetables. I used frozen peas and spinach this time as I have no Pak Choy or Kai Lan (Chinese Broccoli) at present. I don’t like my vegetables over cooked!

Garnish with fresh coriander sprigs and spring onions. Eat whilst hot. 大家吃饭!

The crispy burnt rice at the bottom of the pot is always the best!
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