As the cold winter months roll by, I find myself whipping up meals that provide warmth and comfort. Mum’s Chicken Congee is my answer to this, a saviour when I’m feeling under the weather! This comforting yet flavourful dish is so easy to make. You’ll find variations of Chicken Congee in Asian households…it is a dish truly made with love and care. This is my family’s version!
What is chicken congee?
Made by boiling rice down to porridge or soup-like consistency, Congee is a rice porridge that can be enjoyed in many different ways. For example, in Chaozhou 潮州, where my mum’s family is from in China, you’re likely to find the Congee itself served plain but accompanied with many side condiments like roasted peanuts, fermented soybean, and other meat & vegetable dishes. This is my favourite way to eat breakfast, but I could also have it for lunch and dinner.
Mum’s Chicken Congee is Vietnamese, Chinese style congee. The porridge is made with rice, chicken broth, ground pepper and fish sauce. It is then topped with spring onion, coriander, chilli, fried shallots, beansprouts and Youtiao (油条) which is a fried Chinese breadstick. A flavour bomb to say the least!
WHAT IS YOUTIAO (油条) AND WHERE CAN I BUY IT?
Youtiao is commonly eaten with Congee yet can be used in so many different ways. It’s basically a fried Chinese doughnut breadstick and rounds off the warm porridge with its addicting doughy crunch.
There’s no wrong way to enjoy it. You’ll usually find it either snipped and scattered on top of the dish (as pictured below) or presented as the full breadstick on the side for people to dip into the Congee.
You can buy Youtiao (油条) frozen at the Asian supermarket or fresh at Asian bakeries. I prefer fresh over frozen, but either is fine.
HOW DO I COOK YOUTIAO (油条)?
Cook until golden & crispy.
- If fresh Youtiao, pop them in the oven for 5 minutes at 180 degrees celsius or until crispy.
- If frozen already-fried Youtiao, follow packet instructions or chuck them in the oven for 5 minutes at 180 degrees celsius/until crispy.
- If frozen but uncooked i.e. it comes as dough, you’ll need to deep fry them.
Mum’s Chicken Congee (SIMPLE METHOD, PUNCHY FLAVOURS)
- 2 Chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon Fish Sauce
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 cup Jasmine rice
- 2L Chicken stock liquid chicken stock/homemade is best
- 3 stalks Spring onion finely sliced (leave some for garnish)
- 2 cm Ginger peeled & finely choped (leave some for garnish)
- 1 handful Bean sprouts
- 1 teaspoon Ground pepper
- 1-2 Chinese donut sticks (Youtiao 油条) find at a Chinese bakery or asian supermarket
- Fried shallots
- To make the congee, combine oil, ginger, garlic & spring onions in a large non-stick saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir fry until aromatics are golden & fragrant.
- Add rice & chicken stock. Bring to a boil, add the chicken breast then reduce to a simmer to cook until the rice has broken down (about 40 minutes) to a thick soup (or your preferred consistency).
- Keep an eye on the chicken & remove when it is cooked through, shred with 2 forks or fingers and set aside. If the congee is a little thick add more chicken stock or water.
- Towards the end, taste your congee and add fish sauce for saltiness.
- Garnish with bean sprouts, spring onion, snipped Youtiao (Chinese donut) as pictured, coriander, ground pepper, fried shallots and chilli.