Congee is the ultimate Asian comfort dish. Humble in nature, congee is a simple rice porridge soup often served with garnishes like scallions and cilantro.
One cup of rice goes a long way in this chicken congee recipe to make 4 generous servings! Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, congee can be enjoyed for any meal of the day.
What is congee?
Congee is a rice porridge soup that’s a staple in Chinese cuisine, although many Asian countries have their own version of this comfort dish. In Vietnamese, we call chicken congee “cháo gà” while in Cantonese, congee is called 粥, pronounced “jook”.
My mom always made us chicken congee on cold days to warm us up, so I’ve always equated congee to the Asian version of chicken noodle soup.
What is congee made with?
- White rice
- Broth or water
- Proteins, such as chicken, pork, or shrimp
- Herbs, such as scallions and cilantro
Tips for success
Freeze rinsed rice ahead of time.
I picked up this trick from The Woks of Life blog as a way to significantly reduce cooking time and to also produce the tiny broken grains of rice. The science to it is the moisture in the rice freezes, then expands when cooked, breaking the rice kernel into tiny pieces as small as quinoa. It does require planning ahead of time to freeze the rice, but now that I know about this trick, I always keep a bag of rinsed rice in my freezer!
For more flavor, go with broth.
Congee often includes an umami ingredient like pork bones or dried seafood, but this recipe does not include them to keep ingredients simple, To make up for that flavor, I recommend using chicken broth instead of water to cook the congee and to add a few spurts of fish sauce for umami.
Don’t grate ginger before it’s needed.
To ensure ginger contributes its best flavor, don’t pre-grate the ginger. Grate it right into the pot after the congee is done cooking as instructed for the freshest flavor.
What to serve with congee
While congee is an easy dish to make, it does not need to be basic-tasting. In fact, congee can be dressed up in all sorts of ways to make it a show stopper. Here are some toppings that are served with congee:
- Chinese fried dough sticks (youtiao)
- Soft-boiled egg
- Fried shallots
- Chili oil
- Fish sauce
An easy chicken congee recipe for those who want to make this classic Asian rice porridge at home. Made with rice, broth or water, chicken, ginger, and garnishes of scallions, cilantro, and fish sauce.
- 1 cup uncooked rice, such as jasmine
- 4 scallions
- 2 tsp cooking oil
- 7 cups chicken broth or water, room temperature
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- 1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken
- 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
- 2 tsp Kosher salt, plus more to taste
- fish sauce (optional)
- chili oil (optional)
- fried shallots (optional)
- The day before: Rinse the uncooked rice 3-4 times until the water is no longer cloudy. Drain, then transfer rice to a zip-loc bag or freezer-safe container. Freeze for at least 8 hours.
- The day of: Chop cilantro and scallions, separating the white scallion parts from the green. Set garnishes aside. Then shred rotisserie chicken until you have 1 cup and set aside.
- In a medium pot, add 2 tsp cooking oil and the white parts of the chopped scallion. Turn heat to medium and allow scallions to start sizzling, about 2 minutes, but do not brown. We only want to sizzle lightly to release the onion flavor. Then immediately add 7 cups of room temp chicken broth or water to the pot. Turn up the heat to high and bring broth to a boil, about 8-10 mins.
- Add 1 cup of the frozen rice, and reduce heat to maintain a light simmer. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes. Periodically stir the congee to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- When rice has absorbed most of the liquid and broken up into smaller granules, add 1 cup shredded rotisserie chicken and 1 tsp of freshly grated ginger. Stir to combine, then turn off the heat. Add 1/4 tsp white pepper and 2 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste if needed.
- Serve congee hot with the remaining chopped scallions, cilantro, and other garnishes like chili oil, fish sauce, and fried shallots.
Make Ahead – Congee is best served the same day it’s cooked, but it can be made ahead and refrigerated overnight as well. The rice will swell more overnight, so reheat on the stove with ½ – 1 cup of extra water or broth.
Storing and Freezing – Store in the fridge for up to 2 days. To reheat, bring to a simmer on the stove with ½ – 1 cup of extra water or broth. Alternatively, microwave in single-serving bowls for 2 minutes covered.
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