Cantonese Sausage Clay-pot Rice with Cast Iron Pot
It’s the Beginning of Winter today according to the 24th Solar Terms, so it’s officially winter now. I think for most Cantonese, typical winter food must be Cantonese sausages, a range of dry sausages with significant sweet and rice wine taste. My family used to hang dry sausages, fish or duck widowside during winter, though nowadays we prefer to store them in fridge. My grandma, my mum’s mother, is from a city called Dongguan where is famous for making dry sausage in Canton, so we would keep having very delicious Cantonese sausage from relatives.
The most common Cantonese sausage is made of pork and pork fat, as the key ingredients. There are many other types, such as those with dry Shiitake mushroom, or dry scallop. And my favourite is those made of duck or goose liver.
Beside Cantonese sausage, clay-pot rice is another winter essential for Cantonese. Thus, Cantonese sausage clay-pot rice is the most famous clay-pot rice dish among all! Clay pot can not only keep the rice hot, but also produce rice crust at the bottom, the symbol of successful clay-pot rice. I used to have clay-pot rice at restaurants because clay pot is easy to crack, and the induction hob in my kitchen is unable to detect clay pot. But, this year, I would like to try making clay-pot rice with my 22cm diameter cast iron cocotte. It turned out great! The rice was cooked perfectly with golden crust at the bottom. And it’s much quicker than cooking with electric rice cooker.
Rice, 1 cup, about 250g. Use rice you prefer but I would suggest using rice grown in South China or Thai;
Cantonese dry sausages, about 200g. In this recipe, I used one made of pork and dry shiitake mushroom, one made of goose liver, and four mini pork. Cantonese dry sausages can be easily obtained in any Chinese or Asian grocery stores;
Light soy sauce.
How to do –
1. Wash the rice and soak them in water for 15mins, add a pinch of salt in, about 1/4 tsp;
2. Clean the sausages with kitchen towels, don’t wash with water;
3. Slice the sausages. Someone like them unsliced but I like them sliced;
4. Oil the iron pot and wipe off the excess oil;
5. Drain the rice and put them in the pot. Because the rice has absorbed some water so I would add in 1 cup of cold water at this stage. If you don’t soak the rice, I would suggest add in 1 and a half cup of water. How much water depends on types of rice, texture of rice you prefer, types of pot, or amount of rice. For instance, my grandparents prefer very soft rice so they would add quite a lot of water. Or if you use a pot without a sealed lid, then you might need more water. Do have a try!
6. I would add a few drops of oil in but it’s optional;
7. Lid on and bring to boil in high heat, it should only take 2 to 3 minutes;
8. Turn to low heat and let the rice steam for 15 minutes;
9. After 15 minutes’ steaming the rice should be cooked. Now place the sausages on top and lid on. Keep low heat and cook for 5 more minutes. The sausages should be cooked quickly;
10. Don’t open the lid, let the rice steam with the heat of the iron pot for 15 minutes;
11. In this way there should be rice crust at the bottom. Sprinkle a pinch of finely chopped spring onion and 1tbsp of light soy sauce, then serve.
It’s the same delicious to make sausage rice with electric rice cooker but there wouldn’t be rice crust, because rice cooker would cook the rice too perfectly without burning the rice. There is risks of burning rice without rice cooker but in order to eat the rice crust, do experience!