Chicken Ginger Rice Porridge (Congee)
Since the winter months and flu season is approaching this Sunshine State. (Even though it’s summer 95% of the time.) I thought it would be an appropriate time to whip up a dish that I enjoy during this time of the year because it can be just as therapeutic as a bowl of chicken noodle soup. This dish is commonly eaten when you’re feeling under the weather because of the natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties found in the ingredients such as garlic and ginger that can help alleviate pain or boost the immune system. It is easy on the digestive system whether you’re feeling nauseous, have an upset stomach, or if you have a poor appetite.
This dish is widely known as congee but there are different names for it depending on the region. It is a savory smooth porridge made with rice similar to grits or oatmeal. It was created as a way to stretch a meal in times of need. It’s a comforting dish that’s traditionally served for breakfast but it can be enjoy during anytime of the day. Congee is fairly simple to prepare and also forgiving since you don’t have to be precise about the measurements; a bit of labor of love is all it needs.
Congee is a staple in many Asian households. There are many version. I normally make my congee with chicken but there are other varieties such as beef, pork, seafood, or even vegetarian. It is commonly served with fried dough and various toppings such as eggs, chili/sesame oil, soy sauce, peanuts, and pickled vegetables to name a few. It can be as simple or as complex as you desire. Some prefer their congee to be on the thicker side while others prefer it more on the soupy side. The rice tends to expand quite a bit as it cooks and settles; add more water if the consistency gets too thick for your liking.
- 4 bone in chicken thighs
- 2 in piece ginger (sliced into coins)
- 1 onion or 3 shallots (whole)
- 3 star anise
- 10-12 cups water
- 1 1/4 cup jasmine rice
- 12 garlic cloves (half for frying)
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2-1 tsp black pepper
- 3 scallions
- chilies (optional)
- cilantro (optional)
- Fill up a large pot with water, add salt; bring to a boil.
- Add in chicken; remove impurities that rises to the surface.
- Add in 6 whole garlic cloves, ginger, onion, scallion ends, and star anise; lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes.
- Remove chicken and set aside; once cool enough to handle, shred and season with salt and pepper.
- Discard all the herbs and spices; add in chicken bones to stock pot.
- Rinse rice with water a few times to wash out some starch.
- Add rice to the stock; cook for about 15-30 minutes to 1 hour or until desired consistency; stirring occasionally.
- Season with fish sauce, salt, and pepper; adjust accordingly.
- Fry up chopped garlic on medium heat for a few minutes until lightly golden.
- Top with chicken, chilies, cilantro, fried garlic, ginger, fried or sliced onions/shallots, and scallions.
- Different rice grains can be used. Adjust cooking time and soaking time may be required.