The joy of clay pot chicken is the ease of popping everything in one dish inside the oven – no stirring, no reducing, no fussing. Serve it in the pot alongside a bowl of rice for guests to help themselves. The flavours are subtle and comforting, but distinctly Chinese nonetheless.
Recipe: Clay Pot Chicken
Serves 3 on the bone, or serves 4 off the bone served with rice
2tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
½ tsp potato starch
1 tbsp rice wine
2 tbsp of Shaoxing wine
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp brown sugar
½ tsp salt
3 chicken thighs
5 dried wood ear mushrooms
2tbsp groundnut oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 inches of fresh ginger, grated
2 spring onions, finely sliced
In advance (or the night before)
1. Mix together the oyster sauce, light soy, potato starch, rice wine, Shaoxing wine, sesame oil, brown sugar and salt in a bowl.
2. Add the chicken thighs, and make sure they are fully coated in the marinade. Cover, and leave in the fridge for at least two hours, or overnight.
3. Soak the wood ear mushrooms in warm water and leave for two hours, or overnight. When you are ready to use, if they don’t feel soft enough, just simmer for a couple of minutes.
When ready to cook
4. Pour groundnut oil into the clay pot or donabe, and place in a cold oven. Heat oven to 180°C
5. When oven is hot, remove the clay pot, and place on the hob, over the lowest possible heat.
6. Cook the garlic and ginger in the oil in the clay pot, then add the chicken, together with the marinade and the mushrooms, cut into bite-size pieces.
7. Put the lid on the clay pot, and cook in the oven at 180°C for 35 minutes.
8. Cut the cooked chicken off the bone, and put it back in the pot with the sauce to serve. Or serve entire chicken thighs straight from the pot, garnished with slivers of spring onion.