Chicken Porridge: A Belly Warming Comfort Food

Published on: October 10, 2021

Congee is a type of rice porridge that provides the perfect breakfast in many parts of Asia. Chyi tells us how to make this easy-to-prepare family favorite.

By Chyi Lee

Congee is a comfort food among Asians, enjoyed by adults and children alike. We have it for breakfast to warm up our tummies, savor it with other dim sum at family gatherings, and nourish ourselves with it when we feel unwell. 

We also introduce congee as the first solid food for our babies, cooking rice porridge with protein (such as fish, chicken, or eggs) and some vegetables to make a balanced meal for little ones.  

Our daughter had porridge almost every day when she was between six months old and 1.5 years old. Although she eats a wider variety of food now, she always loves porridge whenever we cook it and asks for an extra serving. 

Here is the recipe for a simple chicken porridge with vegetables, which can be cooked easily for a quick and hearty meal. 

Ingredients (for 2-3 people): 
  • Rice – Jasmine rice or brown rice (cooked or uncooked is okay; sometimes we use leftover rice) –  1 cup
  • Chicken thigh – cut into pieces
  • Ginger – 23 small slices 
  • Celery – half a rib, chopped into small cubes
  • Carrot – half, chopped into small cubes 
  • Water or soup stock – 1.5 litres 
  • Cilantro and/or spring onion – to garnish 
  • Seasoning – salt, pepper, soy sauce, and cooking oil (olive oil, coconut oil, or any vegetable oil)
  • Sesame oil (optional) 
Step 1: Blanch the Chicken
  1.     Put the chicken thigh in a pot with room temperature water; bring to the boil for about 5 minutes to get rid of excess scum. Wash the meat in water to get rid of impurities, and rinse. 
Step 2: Cook the Porridge
  1.   Fill the pot with water or soup stock. Add rice, blanched chicken, ginger, and 1 teaspoon of cooking oil (see tip below*), and bring to the boil over a high heat. After it boils, lower the heat and cook for about 15 minutes over a low-medium heat.
  2. Put in celery and carrot and cook for another 15 minutes. You may add more water if you prefer the porridge to be thinner, or simmer the porridge longer to make it thicker and creamier. 
  3. Stir the porridge from time to time. It is usually ready in 30 – 45 minutes, but you should check to see when the rice is cooked, and when the thickness and the texture of the porridge suit your preference. 
  4. Add seasoning—salt, pepper, and a tablespoon of soy sauce. 

*Tip: it is important to add cooking oil at the beginning to avoid the rice sticking to the pot. It will also help to make the rice softer and give the porridge a better texture. 

Step 3: Serve
  1. Serve the porridge in a bowl, and sprinkle some cilantro and/or spring onions on top. We also like to add a few drops of sesame oil to enhance the fragrance and flavor of the porridge. 

Congee makes the perfect savory breakfast or light dinner, ideal to have along with a plate of stir-fried vegetables. To ‘go local’, you can have it with some fried dough or ‘Pa Tong Go’ like the Thais. Enjoy! 

Photo courtesy of the author.

About the Author

Chyi enjoys learning about others’ stories, writing and sharing them widely. She and her husband have a mini blog on Facebook to share their parenting story, especially food that they prepare for their daughter:   

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