How to cook steamed rice with cast iron pot


Published: December 3, 2019

Friends asked how I cook rice without electric rice cooker. For most Chinese or even Asian families, rice cooker must be the No.1 kitchen essential. But for those who don’t eat rice often, there is really no necessary to have one. Though I make steamed rice with rice cooker almost every day, sometimes, especially in cold winter time, I love to make rice with my cast iron casserole.

Clay-pot rice is one of Cantonese’s favourite winter food. Clay pot can not only keep the rice hot, but produce crispy rice crust at the pot bottom. When I was a kid, I craved for rice crust. However, there are difficulties in making steamed rice with clay pot for kitchen beginners – 1. Rice must be soaked in water for a few hours before cooking, otherwise it may not be cooked evenly; 2. You must be very cautious about the heat and time otherwise the bottom would be burnt easily; 3. Clay pot is easy to crack; 4. For those induction hob installed kitchens, clay pot isn’t adaptable.

There are advantages of cooking rice with cast iron, to name some – 1. There’s no need to soak the rice before cooking; 2. It produces soft and thoroughly cooked rice easily; 3. The rice was cooked perfectly with even golden brown crust at the bottom; 4. It only takes about half an hour cooking, quicker than electric rice cooker.

In this recipe, I made sun-dried duck thigh pot rice. These types of sun-dried meat or fish are significant autumn and winter produces in Cantonese regions worldwide, the mildly sweet pork sausage is most commonly seen. My family used to hang them windowsill in windy weather, though nowadays we prefer to store them in fridge. Also, for a more flavourful rice, I use vegetable stock instead of water. Anyway, those are unnecessary, for a pot of simple tastiness, what you need are RICE and WATER.

For how to cook brown rice, read my latest post – How to cook brown rice in cast iron pot

Read more of my pot rice recipes –

Dinner in a pot, a cast iron pot recipe, Herby Chicken Pot Rice,

Cantonese Dried Seafood and Dried Sausage Pot Rice,

Salty Duck Egg and Meatcake Pot Rice,

Cantonese Sausage Clay Pot Rice with Cast Iron Pot

  • Tips for choosing and maintaining cast iron

Choose your rice cooking iron pot in proper size. I would suggest 20cm or 22cm diameter is the perfect size for most family except that you have a big family. Also iron pot in these sizes are suitable in making stew, braise or soup.

I have 4 cast iron pans and pots for different cooking methods and their prizes vary. I use simple ways to maintain them and they all have been in good condition. If you want more professional suggestion, I believe there are tons more online, just google. Here are how I do –

1. Don’t cook food with too much acidity with cast iron in long time, such as to make tomato sauce, lemon jam, but a quick tomato soup would be just fine;
2. Better not wash cast iron with soak;
3. Use brush in natural material to remove stuck-on bits;
4. After cleaning, wipe with dry towel, then bake in high heat till totally dry;
5. Coat with a thin layer of cooking oil on interior surface;
6. Use as frequent as possible.

  • Ingredients
    Rice, 340g, 3-4 serving, long grain, short grain, jasmine, brown rice, choose what you like. In this recipe, I use white medium-grain rice;
    Water, in room temperature, 400ml (the amount of water may vary due to the type of rice you use), or any broth, chicken, vegetable, in this recipe, I use vegetable broth made with mushroom, kelp, onion and ginger;
    Dry duck thigh, 1, optional;
    Green peas, half cup, optional;
    Ginger, 10g, optional.
  • How to do –

1. Wipe a thin layer of cooking oil at the pot bottom. Rice washed and drained, put in the pot, gradually flat even;
2. Add 400ml of water in room temperature, or any stock you have, lid on, bring to boil in high heat, it would just take less than 1 minute, then lower to low heat, cook for 10 minutes;
3. After ten minutes, the rice should be almost set. Put the duck meat on, or any other meat, such as sun-dried sausage, chicken, pork slices, pork ribs, etc. Lid on, keep low heat and cook for 20 minutes. Then heat off, let it sit for 10 more minutes or even longer;

(Note – The amount of water may vary because some types of rice may absorb more water and some of them not. And if the casserole you use is too small or you cook a larger quantity of rice in, it may require more time steaming and simmering. What’s more, particular types of rice may also require more time cooking, such as brown and red long grain rice.)

4. Poached green peas prepared, and ginger finely diced; duck thigh deboned and hand-torn to small shreds. Mix with rice together. Sun-dried duck is salty so there’s no need to season with salt, but a few drops of light soy sauce is to your preference.

4 thoughts on "臘鴨髀煲仔飯(鑄鐵鍋) : How to cook steamed rice with cast iron pot"

  1. Does the lack of steam escaping due to the closed lid mean you need less water for rice? Most rice I’ve made even stovetop requires 2x liquid compared to rice.

    1. Thanks for asking!
      I haven’t tried using other types of pot to cook steamed rice. I usually cook rice in electric rice cooker, and use the same amount of water as using cast iron casserole with heavy closed lid, and both of them keep most of the steam in the pot so no need to add too much water.
      Also, I think different types of rice absorb more or less water.

    2. And yes, I agree with you. One of the benefits of cooking rice in a cast iron casserole is relying on its sealed lid. It keeps almost all liquid in the pot.

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