This Hong Kong-Style Clay Pot Rice is one of those dishes I can’t get enough of.
Reminiscent of my favourite clay pot rice growing up—long grain rice cooked down in a clay pot where the rice absorbs all the juices and flavours from the mushrooms, tofu, and sauce until super tasty and aromatic!
I used to really enjoy a beef or chicken clay pot rice from a local Hong Kong restaurants serving the really fragrant and tasty rice in a clay pot topped with the meat and veggies, finished off with the sauce.
So, here’s my vegan take on my favourite Hong Kong Clay Pot Rice!
WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE A CLAY POT?
You can still cook this in a regular pot or pan, as long as it has a lid! I used a pot with a non-stick bottom for this version:
So the name of this recipe is obviously because of the use of a clay pot for cooking and cooking all the components in it. I have my trusty clay pot I’ve had for a couple of years now and there’s really something about cooking food in a clay pot. I can’t properly put it into words but it’s also extremely handy to have because you can cook the food in it and use it to serve as well.
COOKING IN A CLAY POT
There is also that health aspect to cooking clay pots. Though I’m not an expert on this, I’ve read that cooking in clay or earthenware pots is healthier because of the porosity of these pots and how steam and mositure circulate well during cooking.
There’s also of course the importance of having a good clay pot that has food-safe glazing to them.
I use a Japanese clay pot or donate actually, that has been fired at very high temperatures (usually at around 1200 C–I learned this in my ceramics elective in university!) so it’s able to withstand the high heat when used in direct fire of your stove.
I have a large clay pot and a smaller one, and use the small one for this recipe, which was good for 2 servings.
My small claypot is around 750-800ml. Here’s a link to the exact 6″ baby donabe I have.
NOTE: Do note that some clay pots can be more porous due to the nature of the clay used. It may absorb moisture more when cooking and yield dried grains. If this is the case, you can adjust as you cook and add more liquid.
The base of my clay pot is actually a stark contrast from its glazed body and lid.
I used long grain rice for this recipe. Jasmine or other long grain rice really works well for this recipe.
I wouldn’t recommend using short grain rice because it will turn out too sticky from the starches.
I washed the rice once through water, just to make sure to wash off any dirt.
Afterwards, I soaked the rice in vegetable broth for an hour.
Soaking the rice will help it cook faster later one since it will have absorbed some of the liquid already.
Then just leave the rice to sit while we prepare the other components for this recipe.
I used a mix fo fresh shiitake and king oyster (trumpet) mushrooms for this recipe.
I simply sliced them into thin (around 1/2-inch pieces).
I also prepared the tofu. For the tofu, I actually used five spice extra firm tofu, that I get from a local asian store. It’s similar to smoked tofu but without the smokey flavour. If you have access to smoked tofu, that would be great too!
If not, using any extra firm tofu is totally fine as well since we’ll be cooking and seasoning the tofu later on.
You can also opt to add some bok choy or other greens to this dish.
COOKING THE COMPONENTS
Since sweet Chinese sausage is traditionally used for a good clay pot rice recipe, I seasoned the tofu in a way that it will be somewhat sweet and really savoury.
I added some sugar to the tofu, that’ll give it that nice, somewhat caramelised taste, especially as the sugar chars a bit from the heat.
Afterwards, I also added in the mushrooms to cook with the tofu.
After cooking down the toppings, let’s go back to the rice! You’ll basically need to set the rice on very low heat and mix it around until the rice absorbs most of the water.
From there, add on the tofu, mushrooms, and bok choy, then pour in some of the sauce!
You’ll need to cover it and leave it to cook so the rice absorbs all the juices and flavours from the mushrooms, tofu, and sauce until super tasty and aromatic!
Enjoy your clay pot rice by mixing it all together!
Add in the remaining sauce after cooking and mix everything together!
I seriously couldn’t stop taking spoonfuls of this rice, especially when it’s freshly cooked and super warm. It’s a complete meal packed with all the goods! It’s also perfectly hearty and satisfying.
Look at that crispy bottom!
I also cooked mine a bit longer with the intention of getting the bottom really crisp and toasted. It’s on the really dark brown (almost charred black side, whoops!) mainly due to the dark soy sauce used, but it’s soo good!
USING A PAN/POT INSTEAD OF A CLAY POT TO COOK THE RICE
You can also make this without a clay pot and use a non-stick pot or dutch oven—just make sure your pan or cooking vessel has a lid to cook everything and you’re set!
I cooked everything the same way. One main difference I noticed is that the bottom didn’t crisp up as well as the one I cooked in a clay pot, possibly because my pot had a thick non-stick bottom.
This recipe serves 2 and I use a small claypot that holds around 750 ml but you can easily adjust the servings if you have a larger pot and want to make more for multiple servings.
You might enjoy these other vegan recipes:
- Crispy Eggplant Katsu
- Chili Garlic and Black Bean Eggplant Noodles
- Easy Sweet, Spicy, and Saucy Noodles
- Stir-Fried Tofu and Basil Noodles
- Pan-Fried Tofu Cakes
- Tofu ‘McNuggets’
- Tantanmen (Vegan Ramen)
- Yaki Udon
- Chinese-Style Bolognese
- Ginger and Scallion Noodles
Looking for more Vegan Asian recipes?
You can get a copy of my upcoming cookbook, Vegan Asian!
If you crave vegan-friendly versions of classic Asian dishes, this cookbook is packed with Southeast and East Asian dishes inspired by those I grew up enjoying at home and those I’ve tried from my travels. From iconic Thai dishes to piping-hot Japanese fare and everything in between, the recipes in this will take your palate on a delicious food trip across Asia, and hopefully keep you coming back for more!
Hong Kong-Style Clay Pot Rice with Mushroom and Tofu
- Clay pot (this is my exact donabe, I have the 6" one) OR
- Other pot with lid (see notes)
- 3/4 cup dry medium or long grain white rice (150 g)
- 3/4 cup vegetable broth or water, same amount as the rice (see notes)
Tofu, Mushrooms, and Bok Choy
- 1 tbsp neutral oil plus more as needed
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 100 g smoked tofu or extra firm tofu I used extra firm five-spiced tofu* see notes
- 1/2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tbsp dark soy sauce or sub regular soy sauce (see notes)
- 1 tbsp Shaoxing Wine sub dry sherry or rice wine
- 150 g fresh mushrooms of choice I used a mix of shiitake and king oyster/trumpet mushrooms
- 1 tbsp soy sauce or to taste
- 1/8 tsp ground white pepper
- 2 small heads of bok choy ends chopped, feel free to use other vegetables of choice (like spinach, kale, mustard greens, etc!)
- 2 tsp neutral oil
- Chopped scallions
Preparing the Rice
- You can see the video below to see how to make clay pot rice.
- Wash your rice 2-3 times through running water then drain the excess liquid.
- Place the rice in the claypot/pot and pour in the vegetable broth. Leave to soak for at least 1 hour. Note that if you soak the rice longer, it can cook faster, so adjust the cooking time as needed.
- Mix all the sauce ingredients in a small bowl until the sugar has dissolved. Set aside.
Tofu, Mushrooms, and Bok Choy
- If using extra firm tofu, press the tofu to drain out excess liquid. I like to do this by wrapping it in a towel and placing a weighted flat surface on top. I leave the tofu to press for at least 10 minutes.
- Slice the tofu and mushrooms into strips, around 1/2” (1.25 cm) thick each.
- Heat a large pan or wok over high heat. Once hot, add in the oil and garlic. Sauté for 1 minute. Add in the sliced tofu first and then leave to lightly brown on each side, around 3 minutes in total. Add in the sugar and dark soy sauce then lower heat to medium high. Mix well to coat the tofu in the soy sauce-sugar mixture. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat to high and the pour in the Shaoxing wine and mix well until the liquid has evaporated.
- Move the tofu to the side of the pan or wok and then add in more oil, if needed, then add in the mushrooms. Leave the mushrooms to cook over high heat until the sides start to turn slightly brown, around 2 minutes. Refrain from moving the mushrooms too much. Season the mushrooms with soy sauce and pepper. Mix well and leave to cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the heat then set the mushrooms and tofu aside.
- In the same pan or wok over high heat, quickly sauté the bok choy with some oil until half-cooked. Set aside as well.
Cooking the Rice
- After the rice has soaked for 1 hour, place it on your stove or burner at medium heat. Mix the rice around until it starts to boil. Lower the heat to medium and then keep mixing until the rice starts to absorb the liquid and will slowly cook down. Once the rice has absorbed almost all of the water, cover the rice and then leave it to cook over very low heat for 8 to 10 minutes. Low heat is essential or else your rice can quickly burn at the bottom and leave the top uncooked.
- Once the rice has absorbed pretty much all the liquid and is almost cooked through, place the tofu, mushrooms, and bok choy over the rice. Pour over half of the sauce around the toppings and rice.
- Cover the pot and then leave it to cook over very low heat for another 15 to 20 minutes until the rice is completely cooked through and the toppings have cooked down. Add the oil into the sides of the pot halfway through cooking—this will help get the rice crisp as it cooks. Cooking it over low heat for longer also helps create that nice crisp bottom!
- Turn off the heat and then pour in the remaining sauce. Top with the chopped scallions then mix everything well until still very hot. You can easily scrape the bottom crust with a spatula while it’s still hot (it’s easier to get the crusts off the pot when still hot compared to when it cools completely).
- Enjoy your clay pot rice as a full meal alone or with some of your favourite tofu or veggie dishes!
Cooking in a Regular Pot
- If using a regular pot or pan for this recipe, just follow all the same steps for this.
- I used a pot with a non-stick base and the main difference I found after cooking it that the base didn't crisp up as well as the one I cooked in the clay pot. But still just as good, taste-wise! If using a dutch oven, you can get a nicer crust at the bottom.
- Hope you enjoy cooking your rice!
Rice and broth
- I basically used equal parts water and broth so if you don’t have a kitchen scale, you can simply use the same cup/measuring device fro the rice and the broth. Using water is also okay but it yields less flavour. You can season your rice with more soy sauce, if needed, after cooking.
- IMPORTANT NOTE: Do note that some clay pots can be more porous due to the nature of the clay used. It may absorb moisture more when cooking and yield dried grains.
- If this is the case and your grains turn out undercooked, I recommend to add 1/4 cup more liquid and mix it well with the rice and cover the pot, then allow it to cook down a bit more.
Dark soy sauce
- Dark soy sauce is much richer and darker in colour so if you’ll substitute this with regular soy sauce note that it won’t be as brown as photographed.
Vegetarian mushroom oyster sauce or stir-fry sauce
- You can substitute this with 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce.
- I used extra firm five-spice tofu, that’s similar to smoked tofu in terms of looks and texture, but without the smokey flavour. You can opt to use regular extra firm tofu if you can’t get five spice or smoked tofu.
- My claypot is around 750-800ml and is good enough for the serving size of this recipe.
- IMPORTANT NOTE: Do note that some clay pots can be more porous due to the nature of the clay used. It may absorb moisture more when cooking and yield dried grains. If this is the case, you can adjust as you cook and add more liquid.