GF: Chinese homestyle chicken and rice

This past winter my in-laws came to visit from Chicago. As a teacher, my vacation days are completely dictated by the school year calendar. This meant I was working during their stay with us. It was sad to head off to work in the morning and know that they (and my niece) were just going to be hanging around or shopping while they waited for us to get home from work.

One night I worked a little later than I had hoped. As I entered the door of our home about six o’clock, the best aromas of Chinese cooking wafted in my direction. I didn’t even stop to put down my bags or take off my coat/shoes. I just walked in to the kitchen to stare in amazement at the delicious dish my father-in-law was preparing. It was all so simple, as most Chinese homestyle cooking is, but so incredibly perfect.

It was a cool night. There was a bit of a chill in the air accompanying the Pacific-Northwest rainy weather. No matter how long we live here, some nights in the winter it all just gets to be too much. This dish, however, was perfect. It soothed the soul, warmed the body, and was filled with enough love to carry me through the months we have when we don’t get to see our family.

Last night I was in the mood for all of the above. I have a cold coming on. I’m sure my yelling/talking with kids over the roar of the crowd AND the pep band at the football game the other night did NOT help much. (But it was FUN!) We had also spent the day running errands (joy-oh-joy) and getting things set up for my love’s office space. We were also going to be heading over to my sister’s house for a surprise drop-in visit. Dinner was in order because I was hungry. And cold. And stressing out about life. LOL.

So, this was the perfect dinner to make.

It’s a one pot dish. Simple flavors, Easy to cook, easy to clean, and GREAT for lunch (or your’s nephews’ dinner) the next night. I hope you like it and feel a bit of our family love settling in to your house and kitchen as the great aromas come out. My father-in-law would be proud.

Chinese Home-style Chicken and Rice
2 cups of rice, Chinese/Japanese short grain
water (enough to cover the rice and your hand when you lay your hand on top of the rice in the pot – about 4 cups)
4 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
4 GF Chinese sausages or other dried sausage (if you cannot find a dried GF sausage, use a precooked mild Italian)
3/4 cups dried shitake mushrooms
1/3+ cup of gluten-free soy sauce
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons sweet bell pepper flakes or red pepper flakes
1/3 cup sake or rice wine or mirin
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon fresh minced ginger
2 Tablespoons shallots (optional)

  1. Rehydrate shitake mushrooms in very hot water for a minimum of 20 minutes. You can put the mushrooms into hot water, start the marinade and then wait only 5-10 minutes before adding to chicken mix. (Just in time for the rice to be at the right stage too!)
  2. Prepare marinade. Mix together soy sauce, cornstarch, red pepper flakes, sake, garlic ginger, and optional shallots in a medium bowl. Cut chicken and dried sausages into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Add chicken to marinade. Allow to sit until rice is tender but not completely done (about 8-9 minutes of simmering time total
  4. Wash your rice thoroughly with cold water until the water runs clear (3 – 4times).
  5. Place rice in a large stock pot (I used a 5 quart LeCrueset). Cover rice with enough water that when you place your hand on top of the water/rice, the water will rise to just touch the knuckle on your hand of your middle finger. (Not the joints on your finger, but the knuckle/bump on your hand. This is the traditional way to make rice and is sometimes called the “Mount Fuji Method” of rice making. Once you master this, you will never measure water for rice again! See this photo for a better idea or this post about making sticky rice.)
  6. Place the rice over a high flame and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the flame to lower to a low simmer.
  7. After about 10 minutes, lift the lid. Most of the water will be absorbed and the rice will be tender but not completely cooked. At this point, add the mushrooms to the sausage/chicken mixture. Toss to mix well. Then pour it all over the top of the rice. Do not mix it in. If necessary, add an additional 1/2 cup of water to the rice to make sure it does not burn. Recover.
  8. Simmer/steam for an additional 20 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked.
  9. Stir together all ingredients in the pot. Taste-test. Add more soy sauce or salt/pepper to your liking. The rice will become somewhat brown in color from the soy sauce but the flavor is gently imparted.
  10. Remove from heat and serve with love.

Yes, the love makes a difference. That’s what heals and keeps you whole!
With love from our house to yours!


  1. I can’t wait to try this. It looks and sounds so much like what my Chinese room mates in college made all the time.

    I hope I can find gf chinese sausage. I love those.

    Thanks for another wonderful recipe.


    I’ve found a couple GF lap cheong from San Francisco. I don’t remember the brand name, sadly, but they do exist. I hope you find them.
    I bet this is similar to a lot of home recipes from China. Simple ingredients and rather inexpensive to boot. Hits the spot in my book.
    I hope you like it too.

  2. This looks amazing! My chicken and rice recipes were becoming rather tired and worn out – this one looks like it will put some zip back into things again – thank you!

    I hope you like it. It’s just family comfort food – and sometimes that exactly what one needs, huh?
    Happy eating!

  3. Be careful. I have yet to find a gluten-free Chinese-style soy sauce. If you know of any, it’d be nice to find. GF Tamari just doesn’t taste right.

    I use the San J Gold label Gluten-free soy sauce. This one:

    My Chinese family says it’s less salty, and they have enjoyed it when they come. In fact, I think we sent a bottle home with my mother-in-law when they visited last. 🙂 I don’t like tamari either. I’ve had it once in 7 years – and never went back. There are some “real” Chinese soy sauces that don’t have wheat in them also. However, I like the flavor of the San J brand. (Although they add more of the GF soy sauce than they would regular soy sauce to recipes to make up for the lesser sodium.)

  4. OK, I got to the recipe, and I’m now CONVINCED I have to make this for dinner. Tonight.

    Have you ever used a rice cooker for this recipe? (I know, I’m so lazy!)

    • Sorry – the rice cooker (while I love it) has not been used for this recipe. My husband has told me (’cause I’ve asked… I love my rice cooker too!) that he is worried about the chicken not getting to the right temperature in the rice cooker, so I just haven’t done it like that. HOWEVER – I bet someone else has tried it. 😀 Maybe they will come let us know too – or if you do try it, please do let us know. 😀

      • OK–I’ve got it on the stove right now! (Wasn’t able to make it last week–power outage, grr.)
        BUT–where do you add the sesame oil? To the marinade? Or at the end?


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