Updated 9th February 2022.
Whenever Chinese New Year is around the corner, one particular dish will always find its way into the welcoming households of the Chinese. This delightful dish from Southern China is called lap mei fan (臘味飯) or Chinese preserved meat claypot rice. Lap mei (臘味) are the assortment of Chinese preserved meats, also known as waxed meat. While fan (飯) means rice.
Chinese preserved meat claypot rice or dearly known as lap mei fan 臘味飯 is comfort food for the soul. 💓
Truth to be told, I have never eaten lap mei fan before until now that is. You see, I was never a lap cheong (臘腸 Chinese preserved sausage) fan. Somehow during Chinese New Year shopping this year, I bought some lap mei from a Chinese grocery shop in PJ. I thought I wanted to make some modern dish out of the lap mei. Coincidentally the lap mei that I bought plus some Chinese preserved sausages at home (bought from Hong Kong) are exactly the ingredients for making lap mei fan. In the end, my curiosity on lap mei fan won over me. And I’m so glad I made lap mei fan or else I would never know how awesome it is! I may have made lap mei fan after Chinese New Year, but really this dish should be enjoyed anytime any day.
Just a heads up. Despite the rather longish recipe, believe me, lap mei fan is very easy to make.
Assorted lap mei (from left to right): lap yuk (臘肉 Chinese preserved pork belly), lap ngap hoong (臘鴨胸 Chinese preserved duck breast), lap ngap pei (臘鴨腿 Chinese preserved duck thigh), lap cheong (臘腸 Chinese preserved sausage), ngo yun cheong (鵝膶腸 Chinese preserved goose liver sausage) & yun cheong (膶腸 Chinese preserved duck liver sausage).
Here I am using 6 types of lap mei. You can use between 4 to 6 kinds of lap mei. Don’t go overboard and also don’t put less. You don’t need much seasoning as the juices and fragrant of the lap mei will enhance the overall flavor. It’s also highly recommended to use the right claypot size.
These lap mei have been blanched and are ready to be sliced/chopped. Some lap mei are tougher than others and need more blanching. If your lap mei stock is fresh, it’s won’t be very tough.
Pretty ya? These lap mei are ready to be cooked in the claypot.
Arrange as neatly as you can on the rice. When you close the lid, don’t open it for quite a while. This is to trap all the steam inside and make the resulting lap mei fan moist and delicious. After 10-15 minutes has passed, time to become a dog/cat and sniff around the claypot to look for the sign of ‘burnt’/charred caramelized rice smell. Here’s one very good example of charred caramelized crispy bottom.
I’ve made lap mei fan twice so far and only achieved the charred bits once. The other time I was too impatient. They were all good nevertheless. Heavenly in fact!
Lap mei fan 臘味飯 or Chinese preserved (waxed) meat claypot rice is BOMB! If you have never liked lap mei before or dislike it, please please please give lap mei fan a try again. You won’t regret it the next time around. People changes. 😛
When I ate my very first spoonful of lap mei fan, something inside me stirred. Woahhh!!! This is so very good. How on earth did I miss this? Oh yeah, must be my lack of adventure and stubbornness.
The rice, oh yes the lard rice is so homey, oily and delicious. The lap cheong has this beautiful fragrant rose smell, while the yun cheong and ngo yun cheong feel right at home. I love the lap yuk too, so fatty and yummy. I’m afraid I’m not a fan of the lap ngap pei and lap ngap hoong because one is very salty while the other too tough (I need to blanch it properly next time). I also added a hard-steamed egg (cooked separately) to my bowl.
Overall, this is an AMAZING dish. I can’t wait for Chinese New Year and make it for everyone to enjoy. And by the by, I still have little ingredients left to make another round of lap mei fan. Who’s with me?
Updated February 2022:
This is the lap mei that I used for the year 2022. Notice something weird on this plate? It’s that black thingy in the background. Do you know what it is? If you know the answer then a big kudos to you!
Here’s the close-up. I discovered it just early this year when I was shopping for lap mei. It’s called 金銀潤 (kam ngan cheong) or in English: fat liver sausage or pork liver lard sausage.
It’s pork liver stuffed with a big piece of pork fat. The cooking method is the same as other lap mei described above. When cooked, the liver texture is firm and it has that unique liver taste. I found it to be quite squirmy the first few times I ate it because of the black liver. Never have I seen something like this. Once I got used to it, I just put it in my mouth without thinking. The lard? Oh, a BIG bonus!
This is my 2022’s lap mei fan. It was fantabulous. However, I gotta admit something. I used a total of seven different lap mei and I find it too chaotic. I will reduce the number of lap mei the next time I make lap mei fan. Mustn’t be generous. Haha
Lap Mei Fan 臘味飯 Chinese Preserved (Waxed) Meat Claypot Rice
Adapted from The Hong Kong Cookery
Lap mei (臘味):
1 lap ngap pei (臘鴨腿 Chinese preserved duck thigh)
1/2 piece lap ngap hoong (臘鴨胸 Chinese preserved duck breast)
1/4 piece lap yuk (臘肉 Chinese preserved pork belly)
1 lap cheong (臘腸 Chinese preserved sausage)
1 yun cheong (膶腸 Chinese preserved duck liver sausage)
1 ngo yun cheong (鵝膶腸 Chinese preserved goose liver sausage)
2 tablespoons lard
2 cups rice
3 or 3 1/2 cups water (use 3 1/2 cups if you prefer soft rice)
4 tablespoons soy sauce
3 stalks spring onion, chopped
21cm diameter claypot that feed 4 people.
1. In a pot of boiling water, blanch the lap mei to remove their oily surfaces. If your lap mei is tough like mine, continue blanching it to make it softer. Usually, the liver sausages need the least blanching time, followed by lap cheong, then either lap ngap hoong or lap yuk and lastly lap ngap pei. How to know if it’s soft? By touch. Use your hand. 🙂
2. After blanching, wash the lap mei under running cold water to further remove the oil from the surface and to stop the cooking.
3. Slice the sausages diagonally and the rest of the lap mei into bite-size pieces.
4. Season all over the claypot with lard.
5. Rinse rice 3 times and put the strained rice into the claypot and add 3 cups water (If you want very soft rice texture, add 3 1/2 cups of water) and slowly bring the rice water to a boil. To take care of your claypot, you should gradually heat it up, from low to high.
6. Once the water is boiling, switch off the heat, and arrange the sliced lap mei nicely on the half-cooked rice.
7. Cover the claypot and cook under low heat for about 20-25 minutes. During this period, do not open the lid at all. In the last 10-15 minutes, sniff around the claypot to detect ‘burnt’/charred caramelized rice smell. This smell will tell you that you have crispy rice crust at the bottom of the claypot and time to stop cooking.
8. Remove the claypot from heat without removing the lid still. Allow the lap mei fan rest for 10-15 minutes. The steam/heat inside the claypot will further cook or in Chinese, we called it ‘kuk’ the lap mei fan resulting in a moist outcome.
9. Finally, uncover and add soy sauce and spring onion. There are 2 ways to serve:
One is to scoop out the rice with some lap mei and the crispy rice crust bits at the bottom of the claypot into bowls. Or two, give the lap mei fan a good mix and scoop into bowls. It doesn’t matter which way you choose, the most important thing is serve the lap mei fan while it’s hot!
Hope you enjoy making lap mei fan!