There’s no avoiding it, it’s cold and flu season. If you haven’t fallen under the weather yet, congratulations. If you want to keep it that way, read on.
For many Thai people, tucking into a steaming bowl of congee, a rich rice porridge, is similar to slurping down a steaming bowl of chicken noodle soup. It’s that perfect go-to dish when you’re sick and need a little nourishment. Packed with plenty of tasty, healthy ingredients like fresh ginger, garlic, onion and hearty chicken, Thai congee is a perfect comfort food. It’s also a sure bet for staving off sickness, and you can make it as spicy or mild as you like.
However, even if you’re feeling like a million bucks, you’ll love traditional Thai congee. This dish is ideal for a chilly winter evening or a lazy Sunday afternoon. Plus it’s a great base for fun toppings like pickles, egg, fish, shrimp, shredded meat, sesame, scallops or anything else you might dream up.
To help you experience this cold-busting Thai comfort food we borrowed a traditional recipe from the awesome site The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook. If you love it, let us (and the great folks at The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook) know. Stay healthy out there!
Time: 1 hour or so
Makes: 4 servings
2 cups cooked white rice
5 cups water
1/2 pound chicken bones or 2 chicken thighs
3, 1/4-inch-thick slices fresh ginger
1 plump clove garlic, smashed
1 green onion, tied into a knot
1/4 of a whole yellow or red onion
Soy sauce, salt, and white pepper to taste
Sesame oil and/or kecap manis for drizzling (optional)
Shredded chicken meat (from the thighs above or leftovers)
Green onions, chopped
Tianjin preserved vegetables (tong chai)
In a medium pot, combine the rice, water, chicken bones, ginger, garlic, green onion, onion and bring to a boil over high heat. Skim off any scum or foam that rises to the surface.
Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally so that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of pot and burn. If using chicken thighs, remove them after 20 minutes and scrape off the meat and shred or chop. Set the meat aside and return the bones to the pot. Continue cooking for another 40 minutes or so.
When the rice grains are swollen and the mixture is as thick as oatmeal, the congee is ready. If it gets too thick, add more water. If it’s too thin, cook it until it reaches the desired smoothness and thickness.
Remove the bones, ginger, garlic, green onion and onion. Add soy sauce, salt, and white pepper to taste.
Ladle into individual bowls, drizzle with sesame oil and/or kecap manis, and garnish as desired.