Chicken Soup Part Two: Breaking out the Asian Mojo

Broken rice congee chicken soup

In my previous post, I made home-made chicken stock for my husband who was recently released from the hospital. On his second day home he was allowed to have soft foods like thin oatmeal. Since I already had chicken broth, I made him a dish my mother made for me when I was a child and had tummy troubles. Normally I would garnish this dish with a lot more, but since my husbands tummy was still very delicate I stayed away from any solids besides the rice.

My mother is from Southeast Asia and rice is the main source of carbohydrates there. Fortunately it is also something that is easily digested. When people are sick they are often nursed back to health on rice porridge. The consistency of the porridge varies depending on the level health and strength of the sick family member or loved one. For someone very sick the rice is strained out and they drink the slightly cloudy starch water that it was cooked in. Someone who is enjoys better health can have a thicker congee (rice porridge) and may have accompaniments like a soft fried egg, meat or tofu, fried onions, etc.

Because my beloved husband, Thogg, was only on his first day of any type of solid I made a very soft and thin soup for him to eat. Making this is very simple especially if you already have some sort of broth pre-made. Broth is optional, many times congee is served without any additional broth but in its un-strained form.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Place the pre-cooked rice in to enough water to submerge it and then cover it by several inches. How much water you add depends on how thick a congee you wish to make. The rice will cook and swell considerably so a little bit of rice can go a long way. You can also use uncooked rice but remember to use even more water.
  2. Bring the pot up to a boil and stir to break up any clumps of rice. Season it with salt until it is relatively salty but would still be considered pleasant to eat. Once it has reached a boil cover the pot loosely and lower it to a bare simmer. You may want to place a wooden chopstick or spoon between the lid and the pot. This will help to control any starchy over-boiling issues you may have.
  3. When the congee is nice and thick you can strain it out with a strainer and keep the rice. It can now be added to any broth you wish. You may also chose to serve it as is in its own liquid as a thick porridge.

Recommendations to try out with congee:

  • Salty pieces of slow cooked meat and veggies.
  • Fried shallots, ginger and garlic with a soft-fried egg (egg yolk still runny)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Marinated Tofu
  • Kimchi (not sure congee is eaten in Korea but it tastes great with any rice so why not)
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