Down With the Sickness

26 Jan

I may finally succumb to the sickness, but not without a fight. Chao Ga (Rice Porridge with Chicken) is like the Chicken Noodle Soup of Vietnamese home cooking and is easier to take down when you need to eat but don’t much feel like it. Fortunately, Chao is made from staple ingredients that I had on hand and only takes an hour to cook.

Chao Ga (Rice Porridge with Chicken)

1 quart chicken broth (low sodium if you’ve got it, otherwise reduce other salty ingredients)

2 quarts water

1 or 2 chicken breasts (bone in dark meat is better, but didn’t have any on hand)

1 cup Jasmine rice

1 tbs minced ginger

1 shallot, minced

1 – 3 tbs fish sauce

1 tbs sugar

1 tbs mushroom seasoning (or less salt if you don’t have the seasoning)

Chao Ga ingredients

Chao Ga ingredients – household items that are more than likely in your cupboard.

In a stock pot, add the chicken broth, water and 1 tablespoon of fish sauce and bring to a boil. Toss in the chicken, reduce heat to medium high and let simmer until cooked through – about 30 minutes. Skim off any gunk that cooks off the chicken. If you use chicken with bones there will be more to skim, but also adds more flavor. Remove the chicken to a plate or bowl and cover with saran wrap to let cool.

Rice simmering in the chicken broth.

Rice simmering in the chicken broth – almost finished. Now’s when you want to shred the chicken and toss back in.

Toss in the rice, ginger, minced shallot, sugar and bring back up to a low boil before reducing to medium to simmer. You want the rice to totally open up bloom, forming a thicker broth, which takes 30ish minutes. We like more liquid in the soup so start off with less rice than a lot of recipes call for.  Otherwise, you can always add more liquid later – just make sure to taste and re-season or else you’ll end up with rice water – much like my first attempt.

When the rice is almost finished cooking and the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred chicken and add back to the soup. For the amount made above, I ended up using only half of the chicken from the convenient Costco two-pack of chicken breasts. The rest will go in some other soup or on a salad later.

Ladle out the porridge and top with fried shallots, cilantro, chili garlic sauce and squeeze of lime. Let the healing begin.

Chao Ga with all the fixings

Chao Ga with all the fixings

One Response to “Down With the Sickness”

  1. Patty February 16, 2013 at 7:47 am #

    Sounds delicious, I’ll have to give it try! Mom

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