Looking for a dish to cure a bad hangover after a long night out with friends? How about a dish to warm the belly on a cold Winter day? Better yet, a dish that will fill the belly when you're overcoming a terrible cold? Vietnamese Chicken Porridge or Congee (Chao Ga) is perfect for these reasons.
I always have a free-range chicken stocked in the freezer to make this dish at a moment's notice. Free- range chickens are best for this dish. It's chewier than your regular chicken, providing a nice contrasting texture to the smooth porridge.
Vietnamese Chicken Porridge or Congee (Chao Ga) Recipe
Makes 4-5 servings
1 whole free-range chicken (blanch first in boiling water with 1 teaspoon salt; discard water)
11 cups water
2 whole white onions (peel)
2 golf-ball size ginger pieces (smash)
1/2 cup short-grain rice (rinse thoroughly, drain and soak in cold water for 15 minutes)
1/2 cup sweet rice (rinse thoroughly, drain and soak in cold water for 15 minutes)
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon chicken stock powder
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Vietnamese Coriander (Rau Ram)
In a large stock pot, add chicken, water, onions and ginger. Bring the pot to a boil and lower the heat to low. Cover the pot with a lid and cook for 45 minutes. Skim the top to remove excess fat. I like to leave a little fat at the top for flavor. To test if the chicken is done, pierce it with a chopstick. If the liquid runs clear and not pink, the chicken is done.
Remove the chicken and let it cool. Once cooled, shred up the chicken and set aside.
To the chicken stock, add rice. Cook for 15 minutes. Then turn off heat. The residual heat will continue cooking the rice and thicken up the pot. Stir the bottom of the pot to prevent the rice from burning.
Season the pot with salt, chicken stock powder, and sugar.
When ready to serve, ladle the soup in a small bowl and sprinkle with a dash of black pepper and top with Vietnamese coriander.