Vietnamese Claypot Rice and Smashed Flying Rice
In Vietnam, there’s no better method of cooking rice than claypot cooking. In the past, most home cook (mother, grandmother, sister) used claypot to cook rice for her family. Those days, claypot is one of the most popular cookware in the country. Not only used to cook rice, it was also used to cook braised pork, braised shrimp and braised fishes. Com Nieu has become the symbol of Vietnamese cuisine, history and culture. Nowadays, aluminum pot, cast-iron pot and rice cooker… are used to cook rice faster and more conveniently. Rice cooked in claypot or Com Nieu which has become specialty food to Vietnamese people and foreign tourists only is served in traditional restaurants with expensive price. Eating claypot rice in warm atmosphere, dinners can feel like they were living in the past when there’s no electric and modern cookware. The Vietnamese house specialty – Claypot Rice (Cơm Niêu) with shattered-crockery and flying-rice show at Com Nieu Saigon restaurant has been featured in Anthony Bourdain’s A Cook’s Tour. Many tourists have known about Vietnamese Claypot Rice and come to Vietnam and would like to try this amazing food as well as the flying-rice show performed by skillful waiters.
Vietnamese Claypot Rice is usually eaten with braised fish, sweet and sour soup, boiled vegies
The first step in the claypot rice’s cooking process is choosing good rice such as Tam Rice, Nang Huong Rice (Gạo Tám, Gạo Nàng Hương) and good claypot which should be round and has high quality. The amount of rice, water must be enough, not less, not much and the straw fire must be medium. The cook has to stir the rice a few times while cooking by a wooden chopstick which is longer and bigger than the one used to eat. After the water run out, the claypot should be put on charcoal for about 20 minutes. Then a pair of chopsticks is used to get the rice out of the claypot to make sure the rice is soft and flavorful.
Cooking Vietnamese Claypot Rice isn’t simple
Royal Vietnamese Claypot Rice is not cooked on straw fire but charcoal which make the rice tastier. A longer cooking time could cause the layer at the bottom of the claypot turns brown-yellow and crispy. To eat, we smash the claypot by a small hammer to get the whole “rice cake”, use a spoon or chopsticks to divide it into some pieces and cover them with mix of fish sauce and chopped green onion or mix of salt and sesame. We call this food Com Dap or smashed rice. In some other restaurants, there are usually two waiters serving Com Dap with throwing, smashing and juggling.
Crispy brown-yellow smashed claypot
The relationship between claypot and rice has existed over thousands of years in Vietnam. They have been closest friends to Vietnamese people from different types of social classes. Com Nieu, Com Dap aren’t foods but the Vietnamese soul. Tasting the white, sticky and smelling rice is the best way to dating back to the past in Vietnam. The simple but not easy to cook Com Nieu, Com Dap are worth trying on your trip to Saigon.
Let’s watch a video about performing flying rice at Com Nieu Saigon Tu Xuong.