Chicken Congee (Vietnamese Cháo Gà) Easy Recipe
Chicken congee or cháo gà in Vietnamese, is a super comforting rice porridge. Anytime I’m not feeling well, this is always the first thing I want to eat. It’s warm, soothing, and like a hug in a bowl.
What is Congee?
Congee is a rice porridge that is commonly eaten in many different Asian cultures. In Vietnamese, it is called cháo and often eaten for breakfast.
Growing up, anytime I was sick my parents would make me a big pot of congee. Now as an adult, this is all I want when I am not feeling well.
There are so many different ways you can make it but the recipe I am sharing here is for a chicken congee or cháo gà.
Chicken congee is light, soothing, and like a hug in bowl. It’s easy to eat when you have a sore throat or uneasy stomach. The texture is soft, luscious, and velvety. I think for a lot of Asian people, it’s the equivalent to chicken noodle soup, and the ultimate comfort food.
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Chicken congee is meant to be light so I don’t add too many seasonings. I start with aromatics like onion, garlic, and ginger. Ginger has great health benefits and helps with nausea. There is usually enough sodium in the chicken broth to flavor the congee but you can add more based on your taste.
Types of Rice
Congee is made with white rice. It’s great with long-grain, medium-grain, or short-grain rice, whatever you have on hand. My favorite to use is long-grain jasmine rice.
I also like to toast the rice with the aromatics and oil. Doing this adds another subtle layer of flavor. It makes it toasty, a little nutty, and more fragrant.
Toasting rice also effects the consistency of congee. It makes the grain more individualized when cooked and not stick together as much. Both consistencies are great, it just depends what you are in the mood for.
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How to Make Chicken Congee
Chicken congee is a really easy and low effort meal to make. It’s perfect for when you’re under the weather and don’t feel like doing much. You’re basically just making a mushy, soupy rice. It’s really hard to mess up.
The main ingredients are rice and chicken broth. I always have store bought chicken broth on hand for easy meals like this. You can also make your own chicken broth or substitute for water and chicken bouillon.
First I sauté aromatics until they are fragrant and then toast the rice. Next, add in the chicken broth and simmer uncovered. Stir occasionally to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. The rice porridge is done when it is super soft, kind of like an oatmeal or grits consistency.
The thickness of congee is really up to personal preference. I like mine right in the middle, not too thick but not too soupy. If you want it thicker and softer, cook it longer. If you want it more loose and soupy, add more water or chicken broth.
Lastly, serve it in a bowl, add toppings to your liking, and enjoy!
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Chicken Congee Toppings
The topping options are endless. For Vietnamese-style chicken congee or cháo gà, I recommend shredded chicken, a soft boiled or jammy egg, fried shallots, green onions, cilantro, and black pepper. If you’re in the mood for a little zest, add a squeeze of lime.
How to Store & Reheat
Congee keeps well in the fridge for about 4 or so days. Store in a sealed container. To reheat you can either put it in a pot on the stove on low heat or put it in the microwave.
The rice may soak up the liquid more or the liquid may evaporate as you store or reheat. The congee may become thicker as a result but it is an easy fix. Add additional chicken broth or water to get it back to your desired consistency.
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Chicken Congee (Vietnamese Cháo Gà)
- 1 cup jasmine rice, washed
- 8 cups chicken broth
- ¼ yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 inch ginger, smashed
- drizzle oil
- 1 chicken breast, shredded
- 4 soft boiled or jammy boiled eggs
- 2 green onions, sliced
- fried shallots
- handful cilantro
- black pepper
- lime juice (optional)
- In a pot on medium heat with a drizzle of oil, cook onions, garlic, and ginger until softened (about 2 minutes).
- Add rice and toast for about 3 minutes.
- Add chicken broth and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes until rice is super soft and to the consistency of your liking. Add more chicken broth or water as needed.
- Prepare toppings while congee is simmering (cook eggs, fry shallots, shred chicken, etc.)
- Serve with toppings to your liking and enjoy!