I must admit congee isn’t the most glamorous looking dish, but if you have a sick teenager like I do it sure makes you feel better. Congee is to Asia what chicken soup is to America. A national dish that is extremely versatile. Moms give it to their babies and add all kinds of nutrients, it is gluten-free, it is great when your stomach is not cooperating and when you are sick and need to recuperate. Congee also can be called rice porridge or jook depending on where you live. Congee also has a lot of toppings. Fried garlic, dried shallots, fresh cilantro or coriander, dried baby shrimp, ginger, soy, chopped 1000 year eggs, red fermented tofu and peanuts to name a few. If you go to a hotel for brunch on the weekends in Asia many will have congee bars and have even more condiments, but today I just made plain brown rice chicken congee with some fried garlic. I sure miss my home country and my family, but am very thankful to be able to learn about customs and traditions in Asia!
Brown Rice Chicken Congee
1 Whole Chicken (I used 1 chicken breast instead, but the whole chicken has a lot more flavor)
8 C water
1 T Chinese Shoa Xing Rice Wine ( mirin or masala cooking wine is fine or omit)
1/2-1 inch ginger, I just smash it with the back of a knife (I like eating ginger but but my kids don’t, this way they can take it out easily)
1-2 T oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 T onion or shallot, chopped
1 C brown rice
1 garlic clove chopped
Garnish with toppings of your choice
1. Put chicken, water, wine and ginger in a large stock pot and cook for about 1 hour until chicken is done. If you are using chicken breast, cooking will be cut to about 15-20 minutes depending how thick. Remove chicken and chop or shred and set aside. Strain broth if you used a whole chicken and put about 4 C broth back in pot. Reserve rest of broth in case you need to thin the congee.
2. Heat oil and stir fry garlic and onions. Add brown rice and fry just a bit more. Once your rice is thoroughly coated dump all that back into your stock pot with the 4 C broth and cook on medium high heat for about 40-60 minutes. Just watch it as time gets close to 30-40 minutes, you may need to add some more stock. Remember you don’t let all the water evaporate. It should be kind of like an oatmeal consistency. Not dry.
3. Gently fry your garlic in a little bit of oil until brown. Don’t let it burn. Drain on paper towel. It will crisp up as it cools.
3. Ladle congee in a bowl and add your chopped or shredded chicken and any other condiments and healing is on the way!