This recipe is courtesy of Essential Chinese Cooking by Jeremy Pang.
“Steam in cooking does not always have to come from water boiling in a pan. In this Hong Kong dish, the steam is created from the rice, and there is an art to getting the chicken into it at the right time in order to have it cook through perfectly and give you the textures you’ll want—a crispy layer of rice on the bottom of the pot, followed by fluffy, steamed rice in the middle and succulent meat on top.” — Jeremy Pang
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Cut the chicken thighs into 1/4-inch slices and put in a bowl.
Cut the drained, soaked mushrooms into fine slices and add to the chicken slices.
Add the marinade ingredients to a bowl and, using your hands, rub them together until all the marinade has been absorbed.
To make the chile and garlic sauce, heat the vegetable oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Add the chile and garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds, then add the soy sauce and sugar to the pan, bring to a boil, and cook for another 30 seconds, until the sauce has caramelized slightly but is still runny.
Pour into a ramekin and keep ready for later.
Rinse the rice 2 to 3 times to get rid of any excess starch, then drain the rice through a strainer.
Measure out the water for cooking in a pitcher. Finely slice the ginger and scallion.
Build your “Wok Clock”: Place your ginger at 12 o’clock, then arrange the rice, water, marinated chicken bowl, and scallion clockwise around your plate.
Heat the vegetable oil to a medium heat in a clay pot or heavy saucepan.
Add the slices of ginger to the oil and stir-fry for 30 seconds until fragrant.
Add the washed rice to the pan and fry it in the oil for 1 minute, stirring to coat the grains evenly, then pour over the water.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, add the chicken and mushroom mix, and cook, covered, over low heat for 20 minutes.
Remove the lid and check that the chicken is cooked (it should be light brown or white in color, with no pink), and that the rice has formed a crisp, golden brown layer on the bottom of the pan. If it needs it, let it cook for a few minutes longer.
Once cooked, spoon into bowls and garnish with the scallion. Serve with the chili and garlic sauce.
If you hear light “crackling” noises from the bottom of the pan during the last stage of cooking, this is a good sign that the rice is crisping up on the bottom of the pan. If, however, you smell burning, turn the stove off at this point and serve immediately!
Recipe adapted with permission from Essential Chinese Cooking by Jeremy Pang (Quadrille, September 2016, RRP $24.95 hardcover).