Chicken Congee

A comforting classic that can be enjoyed during all times of the day. Silky, savory rice porridge that will warm you from the inside out.


Chicken babaw/congee topped with fried shallots and scallions


Ingredients:


Chicken Stock:

3 lb whole chicken, rinsed with excess fat trimmed off

1 whole onion, halved

3 two-inch slices of ginger

2 stalks of lemongrass

3 green onion stems

1 tbsp salt

4 1/2 qts water


Rice:

2 tbsp chicken bouillon (Lee Kum Kee brand, preferable)

2 tsp sugar

1 tsp white pepper

1 tbsp oyster sauce

1 cup of white rice, rinsed and strained (short grain or jasmine, according to preference)

1/2 onion, diced


Serve with a side of fried Chinese cruellers


Optional toppings


Thin sliced green onions

Crispy fried shallots

Shiitake mushroom

Century eggs

Sliced liver/intestines

Blood cubes/tofu

Thin sliced ginger

Freshly grated black pepper

Salted soy beans



Congee is a rice porridge that's popular in many different Asian countries. Known as babaw in Khmer, I grew up eating congee and I find it to be one of the best comfort foods out there when my appetite isn't great or when I'm feeling sick. From what I recall, it was the first "real" food I ever ate in my early days of childhood and I'm sure a lot of other Asians relate to that.


There are a lot of different variations of congee. Sweet, savory, plain. Oftentimes, mothers will make plain congee for their children to eat with something salty on the side like salted dried fish, Chinese sausage or some sort of. It's easy to digest, warm and can be paired with everything. It really is a quick and easy meal that helps keep our stomachs happy. Aside from the plain version, this dish can be spiced up into a delicious savory version of congee by cooking with a chicken or pork bone stock. You get to enjoy tender bits of meat in the soup and it's best topped with some fresh green onions, crispy fried shallots and salted soy beans. It's an even better treat with thin slices of liver, intestines, century egg and pork blood.


Visual Instructions:


Rinse and strain rice repeatedly until the water comes clear. Give the rice a final strain and set aside to dry.


Prepare whole chicken, trim off excess fat and clean off skin.



Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the whole chicken to the pot along with lemongrass, onion, ginger and green onion stems along with a pinch of salt. Let the chicken simmer on low for 1 hour. Make sure to skim off any scum that rises to the top of the pot to keep the soup clear.



In a small bowl, mix oyster sauce, white pepper, sugar, and chicken bouillon together. This will be used for stir frying the rice.



Heat up a frying pan with a tablespoon of vegetable oil on medium heat. Once the pan comes to temperature, add in the diced onion and saute until translucent. Then add the uncooked rice into the pan and gently stir in the sauce mixture. This will infuse the flavors into the rice and create a deeper flavor in the soup. Stir the rice for about 5 mins then turn off the heat.



Remove the lemongrass, onion, ginger and green onion stems from the soup and take out the chicken. You can cut it up and add larger pieces in with the bone or shred it into smaller pieces and add it back into the broth. Bring the soup back up to a boil and add in the rice. Gently stir the soup every so often for 20 mins on medium low heat.


Once the rice expands and opens up, it is fully cooked. Check the soup for seasoning and add additional salt or fish sauce to taste. Top with thinly sliced green onions and fried shallots and serve with a side of crispy cruellers.



Directions:

  1. Rinse and strain rice repeatedly until the water comes clear. Give the rice a final strain and set aside to dry.

  2. Prepare whole chicken, trim off excess fat and clean off skin.

  3. Fill a large stock pot with water and bring to a boil.

  4. Add the whole chicken to the pot along with lemongrass, onion, ginger and green onion stems along with a pinch of salt. Let the chicken simmer on low for 1 hour. Skim off any scum that rises to the top of the pot to keep the soup clear.

  5. In a small bowl, mix oyster sauce, white pepper, sugar, and chicken bouillon together.

  6. Heat up a frying pan with a tablespoon of vegetable oil on medium heat. Once the pan comes to temperature, add in the diced onion and saute until translucent.

  7. Add the uncooked rice into the pan and gently stir in the sauce mixture. Stir the rice for about 5 mins then turn off the heat.

  8. Remove the lemongrass, onion, ginger and green onion stems from the soup and take out the chicken. You can cut it up and add larger pieces in with the bone or shred it into smaller pieces and add it back into the broth.

  9. Bring the soup back up to a boil and add in the rice. Gently stir the soup every so often for 20 mins on medium low heat.

  10. Once the rice expands and is soft to taste, it is fully cooked. Taste the soup for seasoning and add additional salt, fish sauce or salted soy beans to taste.

  11. Top soup with garnishes and serve.