Savory Chicken & Mushroom Rice Pot: A Timeless Chinese Delight

Reliving Childhood Comfort with Mom’s Signature Dish

Some dishes possess the magic to take you on a temporal journey with just a single bite. As I savored the chicken & mushroom rice pot, reminiscent memories of my mom’s special dinners surfaced vividly. She had a cherished dish, known in Cantonese as “waat gai” – aptly translated as “silky chicken.” An eagerly anticipated treat, its unmistakable aroma signaled its presence in our home. This recipe is a testament not only to flavors but to the heartfelt emotions and nostalgia of cherished family gatherings.

Star Ingredients: A Trio of Unique Elements

Venture into the dry goods aisle of a local Chinese store, and you’ll stumble upon some intriguing finds. For this dish, dried shiitake mushrooms, lily flowers, and wood ear mushrooms are the stars. They might sound exotic, but they’re key to this dish’s signature flavor and texture.

Savory Chicken and Mushroom Rice Pot Recipe


For the Chicken-Mushroom Medley:

  • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms (small to medium)
  • 1/3 cup dried lily flowers
  • 1/8 cup dried wood ear mushrooms
  • 8 ounces boneless skinless chicken thighs (alternatively, 6 chicken drumettes and wingettes/flats)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (adjust according to preference)
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper

For the Flavorful Rice Base:

  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken stock (or water)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1 slice ginger (finely sliced)
  • 1 scallion (finely sliced; green and white parts kept separately)


  1. Begin by rehydrating the mushrooms and lily flowers. Distribute them into three distinct bowls, covering them with boiling water. Let them sit for about 2 hours.
  2. After soaking, prepare the shiitake mushrooms by squeezing out excess water, trimming any hard stems, and halving them. For the lily flowers, trim any tough ends and halve them. Thoroughly rinse the wood ears to remove grit and trim any rugged parts. If they’re particularly large, consider halving them.
  3. Transfer the mushrooms, lily flowers, wood ears, chicken, and all seasonings into a mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly, ensuring the chicken soaks up the marinade. Leave this for at least 30 minutes. If you’re planning ahead, you can do this a day in advance.
  4. Immerse the rice in the clay pot with water for about 25 minutes. Drain it, ensuring most of the water is removed. Now, pour in the chicken stock (or water), salt, and oil, mixing them well.
  5. Smooth out the rice layer. Once the chicken has absorbed the marinade, evenly layer it over the rice.
  6. Top it off with the ginger slices and the white parts of the scallions. Cover the pot and place it on medium-high heat until you see the liquid simmer. Reduce the heat to its lowest setting and let it cook for approximately 25-30 minutes. Once cooked, garnish with the green scallions and serve.

Why This Dish Stands Out

Few dishes have the power to evoke memories and emotions, and this savory chicken and mushroom rice pot is one of them. Not only is it a hearty meal filled with flavors, but it’s also a link to cherished memories. Whether it’s a trip down memory lane or a first-time experience, this dish promises a delightful culinary journey for everyone.

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