Chicken Congee

Chicken Congee

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2 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves
10 cups water
2-inch piece ginger, peeled, cut in half and lightly pounded with the side of a cleaver
2 scallions, white and green parts, trimmed and lightly pounded with the side of a cleaver
2 chicken bouillon cubes
3/4 cup basmati rice (any long-grain rice will work)
kosher salt
2 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
fried shallots, for garnish
sesame oil, for garnish


Place chicken breasts in a large heavy-bottomed pot (we used our large Le Creuset).  Cover with water.  Add ginger and scallions.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes.  Remove chicken from cooking liquid and set aside on a plate to cool.

Meanwhile, place rice in a medium mixing bowl.  Add enough cold water to cover the rice by about an inch and swirl around with your hand.  Drain and repeat.  Add cold water to cover rice and let rice soak while the chicken is cooking.  When you remove the chicken from the cooking liquid, drain and set aside.  After the chicken has cooled enough to handle, shred it with your hands or a fork.

Bring cooking liquid back to a boil.  Add bouillon and rice.  Bring mixture back to a boil and stir.  Partially cover the pot, reduce heat to a medium simmer (somewhere between a gentle simmer and a roiling simmer), stirring periodically, for approximately 45 minutes.  Note that after 30 minutes the rice should have tripled in size and soaked up some of the broth.  Continue simmering until the congee is at a consistency where you like it - some people like to basically cook the rice until it dissolves into a porridge (which takes about 60 minutes if you soak it first).  I like my rice to be nice and pillowy soft, but still maintain some integrity, so I cook it for about 45 minutes.  Season to taste with salt.

Remove the scallions and ginger from the congee.  Add half of the shredded chicken to the congee and stir to combine.  Ladle congee into bowls and top with remaining chicken.  Serve with scallions, cilantro, fried shallots and sesame oil.