Vietnamese Chicken Porridge Recipe – Chao Ga

Written by Luisa Davis on . Posted in food

My journey with Vietnamese Chao Ga has been one of untold happiness even when things seemed to be dim. My first encounter with this spectacular dish was at a time that I was ailing, and nothing seemed to be helping. The medicines had me miserable, and none of the foods I made were adding any joy to my life as they all seemed tasteless. 

Finally, in a moment of desperation, I came across this Chao Ga recipe that I had neatly tucked into one of my drawers thinking that I would get to it some months down the line. And boy, am I glad I did! With this meal in hand, I was more than ready to face my upcoming presentation.

Chao Ga also goes by the name congee with chicken. You see, where Asians tend to rely on their chicken noodle soup whenever they are under the weather, there are many Vietnamese who swear by the healing power of this food. As such, if you are fatigued and battling a bad cold, look no further than Vietnamese chicken porridge that will have you feeling like a million bucks in no time.

However, this meal is not only a way to give the sick something to which they can look forward, and you can also prepare it during other times such as special occasions. With a few ingredients at hand, you can quickly make this Chao Vietnamese soup before you retire to the couch for some much-needed downtime. And one last thing; be sure to have lots of fun while making it.

Vietnamese Porridge

You will need a few ingredients to make this soup. You could find that you lack one or two items. However, stepping out of the house for a few minutes to do some quick shopping will do you some good. Ask your doctor.

Ingredients

  • One chicken
  • Minced garlic
  • Ginger
  • One large onion
  • Fish sauce
  • 1 cup of jasmine rice
  • Cracked black pepper

Additional components

The above ingredients are a must-have for anyone who wishes to make some delicious soup. That said, you could as well add some extra spices to make your meal all the more special, especially if you wish to serve it at an event. You would need some bean sprouts, green onion, cilantro, fried garlic, and grilled onions.

Chao Ga Recipe

You will begin by washing the chicken. Be sure to be thorough in this process as you do not want to leave any area untouched as this could affect your meal, or worse, your health. Place the chicken in a large pot and add water, just enough to cover the chicken. Place a cover over the pan and cook on medium heat until the water comes to a boil.

From here, divide the ginger into two. From one half, cut up big chunks and from the other, create some small pieces. Add the big pieces to the boiling water and save the small pieces for later use.

When it comes to ginger, it is all about one’s preference. Where some people jump at the chance to fill their meals with ginger, others prefer for the gingery taste to be at a minimum, so be sure to consider this. One ginger root is excellent for people in-between.

Peel the onion and add it to the pot. From here, clean the rice and place it aside for use at a later stage.

Cooking

Using a separate pan, add some drops of olive oil, minced garlic, the cleaned rice and a teaspoon of sesame oil. There are two ways in which you can go about this at this point. If you would love to enhance the flavor and the smell of ginger, you should add the small ginger pieces at this time as the heat will bring out its strong traits. However, for anyone who prefers for the ginger taste to be low, then you can wait until later stages before bringing it into the mix. I prefer adding it at this stage.

There are many modifications to this recipe, but one thing that they all have in common is the use of ginger which has numerous health benefits. Examples include easing muscle pain, treating nausea, lowering cholesterol levels and helping with indigestion.

Ginger is an essential factor in this medicinal food.

From here, continue to sauté the rice on low to medium heat. While doing so, be sure to keep an eye on the pot for any change in color or movement. You will know that it is time to move on the next step when the rice gains a whiter hue and starts popping in the pan. It should take a few minutes for this to happen. At this point, you can transfer the rice to the pot with the chicken. It is necessary to note that while you are sautéing the rice, you will not bring the boiling water in the other cooking pot to a stop.

Once you add the rice to the boiling water, cover the pot and reduce the heat to low-medium once the boiling commences. Take track of the time as this process should only take twenty to thirty minutes such that you do not overcook the rice before adding essential ingredients.

If you want to have some ginger taste in your food, this is the point to add the ginger pieces into the pot. In addition to this, you should add garlic powder to your preference, some onion powder, black pepper and three tablespoons of fish sauce to the rice. At this point, most of the water in the pot will have evaporated, and it will be necessary for you to keep stirring to enable the ingredients to mix. You should not let any of the heat to escape. As such, be sure to cover the pot upon adding the components.

After about ten minutes of stirring, you can start checking if the chicken is ready to eat. A simple way to do so would be by using a fork to pierce the meat. If the chicken feels firm to the touch, cover the pot and let it cook for five more minutes until you can easily penetrate through the flesh. You should also check for blood, and where you are unsure of how done the chicken is, it is always best to give it more time to cook.

However, you should not overcook the meat and once the chicken is ready, take it out from the cooking pot and place it in a cool place. From here, let the rice continue cooking on low heat as this will enable it to further break down for the best results.

Give the chicken some time to cool as you wait for the rice to cook. Once it is at a temperature that you can work with without getting burnt, start cutting up the meat into pieces. You have two options at this point, which are dependent on how you like your meat. In the first one, you can cut up the chicken to small pieces which you can then add to the rice and serve them as one. You can also choose to have big chunks which you can serve alongside the rice.

You can add seasonings to your Chao at this stage.

If you prefer a few flavors, the Chao will be good to go for you and you can wait until it is ready without adding more ingredients. For people like me who prefer to have tons of flavors in play, adding a few drops of fish sauce and black pepper will do the trick. However, you are free to add more spices if you wish.

The rice porridge will take about twenty minutes to half an hour for it to be ready seeing as it is rice porridge. As such, be sure to practice a great deal of patience when preparing the meal for you to achieve your desired thickness.

You can serve this rice soup Vietnamese in any way that pleases you. Some people prefer having some bean sprouts at the bottom of their plates before adding in the porridge. After that, you can garnish the meal with some fried onions, cilantro, black pepper, and green onions. You can also sauté fried garlic with olive oil in a small saucepan and add this to the porridge. The results will have you rolling your eyes back with pleasure. Another excellent garnish is the use of sliced Chinese doughnuts which also pair well with this delicacy.

This Chao Ga works for hangovers, cold winter days and flu; and this recipe can serve as many as four to five people. It is always an excellent idea to have some chicken in the fridge as you never know when a cold will strike. I hope that you enjoyed this Vietnamese rice porridge recipe and I sincerely hope that you feel great soon. Thank you!

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Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis is a frelance writer and foodie based in Portland, California. Though raised on her mother's homestyle Italian cooking, she has spent most of the last five years traveling and immersing herself in other countries' cuisines. Her work have been published in various publications, both online and offline.

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