Saturday, September 10, 2011

Chicken Congee for the Soul

I'm sure most of us had wished at one time or another, that somebody cooked for us, that we did not have to open the fridge, thaw stuff, cut up the veggies, eat, and then clean up.

Well, last week was one of those days for me.  I started getting the sniffles on Monday morning, and from then on I got this bad cold that just won't come out.  The kind that is just stuck in your head, at the same time you are feeling as lousy as can be.  I took my vitamin C, Day Quil, and plenty of water but I just could not shake it away.  I stayed in bed to rest, hoping that would help me get better faster.  But instead, I was feeling worse everyday.  I managed to check my email every morning and keep tabs with Veggie Girl by way of instant messaging.  By Wednesday, after eating fast food for the last two days, Veggie Girl came to the rescue by offering to make me some congee.  Believe me, I accepted her offer gladly.  First of all, I am getting tired of eating fast food, and I'm sure that's not helping get any better.  Secondly, congee is one of my favorites, even though we were in the middle of a sweltering heat wave in Southern California last week.  And third, I read somewhere, that chicken soup actually has some properties to it that actually helps in healing the body when you are sick.  Being Asian, chicken congee with ginger is our answer to the Westerner's chicken noodle soup.  And when a dear friend is making it for you when you are just doesn't get any better than that.  

Thank you Veggie Girl for cooking me a hot meal.  You see, I talked to Veggie Girl on Wednesday morning.  By noon that day I had congee personally delivered to my kitchen, still warm, and literally still in the pot.  While it may be true that chicken soup has healing properties, I think true healing comes from the caring and generosity of such a good friend as Veggie Girl.  It not only feeds you physically, but it also feeds your soul, and it just couldn't get any more heartwarming than that. -GG-

Chicken and Ginger Congee
Recipe by Veggie Girl
Serves 6.


1 large chicken breast with rib attached
1 cup uncooked rice (jasmine or calrose)
2 cups chicken broth
6 cups water
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
6 slices of ginger (leave in large pieces if only to flavor the congee or thinly julienned if you prefer to eat it)
2 green onion stalks, chopped
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Sesame oil to drizzle over (optional)


Soak the rice for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, remove the skin and trim the fat from the chicken breast and wash it well.  After soaking the rice grains, wash and rinse them well and transfer to a large stock pot. 

Add the chicken breast, 6 cups of water, garlic powder, onion powder and the ginger to the stock pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer on low, covered, for about 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Remove the chicken breast and set aside to allow it to cool. Add the two cups of chicken broth to the pot, bring back to a boil then reduce heat again and continue simmering on low until the rice has broken down completely and the mixture has become thickened and creamy.

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bone and shred it by hand then return it to the pot. Turn off the heat and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes on the stove. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

You can stir the chopped green onions into the porridge at this time or add them as a garnish before serving. Top with a drizzle of sesame oil if preferred.

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