Skip to main content
04 Jul 2022

Ping Coombes’s claypot chicken rice

Ping Coombes’s claypot chicken rice
Photo by Laura Jayne Edwards and recipe is extracted from MALAYSIA

It’s truly mesmerising watching how street vendors make this dish: it takes multi-tasking to a whole new level. They usually have 10-12 charcoal stoves on the go at the same time and place the claypots with rice on top of the hob as the orders come in.

Once the rice is almost cooked, chicken is added and then steam created by the claypot cooks the chicken. It’s an orchestrated set of movements of moving from claypots to claypots with the opening and closing of lids. As the rice cooks on direct heat from the stove it forms a charred crust, which gives the dish smokiness and its unique textures.

This home version can be recreated with a claypot, or a cast-iron casserole. If you’re using a claypot, please note that it can only work on gas hobs. For inductions and electric hobs, please use a small cast-iron casserole pot.

Serves: 2
Takes: 2 hrs 30 mins

3 dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and sliced
150g boneless chicken thighs, sliced
1.5in ginger
2 garlic cloves
1 Chinese sausage, sliced
4 tbsp sweet soy sauce or kecap manis
1 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
200g jasmine rice
steamed pak choi, to serve (optional)

For the marinade
½ tsp light soy sauce 
large pinch of sugar
½ tbsp cornflour

For the bird’s-eye chilli and soy sauce dip
2 bird’s-eye chillies, chopped
3 tbsp light soy sauce


  1. Rehydrate the mushrooms in cold water for two hours. You can speed it up by using boiling water. Once softened, squeeze to discard excess water and cut off the stalks. Discard the stalks and cut the mushrooms into slices.
  2. Make the marinade by mixing the light soy sauce, sugar and cornflour together, then marinate the chicken for at least 20 mins at room temperature or for two hours in the fridge.
  3. Finely chop the ginger and garlic. Heat the oil in a pan, then sautée the ginger and garlic until fragrant; add the sausage and fry for another min.
  4. Add the marinated chicken and mushrooms and continue to fry until the chicken turns opaque. Add 2 tbsp of the sweet soy sauce/kecap manis and 3 tbsp of water. Continue to fry for another two mins. The chicken needs to be ¾ cooked. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
  5. Rinse the rice a couple of times to get rid of excess starch. Fill the claypot or a small cast-iron casserole with water, about one inch above the rice. Bring to the boil on a medium heat, then reduce to a low simmer.
  6. As soon as the rice starts to absorb all the water, put the chicken mixture on top and cover. Continue to cook on the hob for another 10-13 mins on a low heat. The rice will form an almost burnt crust at the bottom of the pan.
  7. When the rice is cooked, open the lid and drizzle the remaining 2 tbsp of sweet soy sauce/kecap manis on top of the rice and chicken. Place the lid back on and rest for a few mins while you make the dip.
  8. Mix chopped bird’s-eye chillies and light soy sauce in a saucer.
  9. Serve the chicken rice with the bird’s-eye chilli and soy sauce dip on the side.

Follow us on Instagram