Recipe & Photo: Lili Tu
In Vietnam, chicken congee is believed to have a similar healing power of the chicken soup in fighting a cold. It is light and gentle to your stomach, yet very tasty.
The combination of fresh perilla leaves, spring onion and ginger in the recipe have warm properties that would heat your body up and help you sweat out all of the sicknesses. And if you wonder, perilla is a herb from the mint family that has quite a delicate flavour and is very similar to Japanese shiso.
At its heart, simmer a small amount of rice in a large amount of water for few hours and you have congee. However, everyone does slightly differently. Different grains of rice, different amounts of liquid and cooking times can affect the final flavour and consistency. The perfect congee regardless should look creamy and taste comforting instead of sludgy or over heavy.
Our top tips for the silky congee are:
- Add a small portion of glutinous rice to the normal rice
- Plenty of water – add more water during the cooking process if you feel the congee is heavy
- Stir the rice regularly, making sure it’s not sticking to the bottom.
On a cold day, a hearty bowl of home cooked chicken congee is just a soothing comfort food that makes everything better.
Total cooking time: 2hrs Servings: 4
- 1 cup rice
- ¼ cup glutinous rice
- 500g ground chicken
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1½ tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 Asian shallot, chopped
- 5cm ginger, shredded
- 1 bunch spring onion, finely chop
- 1 bunch perilla, finely chop
- ½ tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon pepper
- Combine the rice, rinse well. In a large pot, add rice and 3 litres water, bring to the boil. When the rice begins to swell, turn down the heat to very low, cover with a lid and simmer as gently as possible, stirring regularly and adding more water if needed until the rice gains have almost dissolved about 1-2 hours.
- Mix the minced chicken with 1 teaspoon of salt, ½ tablespoon of fish sauce, ½ tablespoon of sugar. Heat the oil in a pan; add the shallot and fry until it fragrant. Add the ground chicken, stir fry so the meat breaks apart. Cook until all the juice from the chicken just dry up.
- Divide the meat into 2 portions. Add 1 portion of chicken and the shredded ginger into the congee, stir well and season with the rest of the salt and fish sauce or to your taste.
- Serve congee in bowls, top with minced chicken, perilla and spring onion.