Do you have any “go to” recipes you know off the top of your head that are easy to cook and quick to prepare? This is one of mine.
Have you ever heard or had congee? We call it bubur in Malay and similarly in Indonesian. It is a silky, savoury rice porridge, a simplistic dish which can be easily altered to ones taste. Congee is comfort food whereby you simmer a small amount of rice in a large amount of water and serve to your liking.
My Take On Chicken Congee / Bubur Ayam
1 cup of Jasmine rice
1 ½ – 2 litres water
1 ½ – 2 medium sized chicken breasts diced
1 ½ diced carrots
2 diced potatoes
A bunch of Hong Kong choy sum diced and chopped separating the stalks from the leaves
½ can of coconut milk
1cm ginger bashed
½ onion sliced thinly
2 cloves of garlic chopped finely
1 star anise
3 – 4 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 Tbspn of olive oil or vegetable oil
Salt and chicken stock powder to taste
Finely sliced red chilli
Thinly sliced spring onions (green part only)
- Place the rice in a bowl and rinse the rice several times with cool water. The water will appear milky at first but will then become clearer. It is fine if there’s still some haze in the water. I usually like to wash the rice in the rice cooker pot as it is easier to handle.
- In a big pot, heat oil at medium heat and add sliced onions. Stir until soft and golden and then add the spices, ginger and garlic.
- Add the vegetables including the stalks of the Hong Kong choy sum, leave the leaves til later. Stir until partially soft.
- Add diced chicken breast to the pot and cook chicken through.
- Add the washed rice and water and bring to a boil, stirring often then reduce to a simmer. Continue simmering for about 1/2 an hour to an hour ensuring you continue to stir to prevent catching on the bottom and burning the congee. If the porridge is getting a little stiff or if you’d like a looser porridge, add more cooking liquid. The congee is ready when the rice is as soft and porridgy as you prefer.
- Add the leaves from the Hong Kong choy sum and cook for a further 5-10 minutes.
- Pour the coconut milk over the congee and mix to desired consistency. Add salt and chicken stock powder to taste.
- Ladle congee porridge in a bowl and garnish with the optional garnishes.
Congee can be altered in many ways to one’s personal preference. It is such a versatile dish that can be experimented with. Try making variations of this dish by adding or removing anything you desire. See what you have in your fridge or kitchen and chuck it in. You can use water or you can use vegetable or chicken stock. Some like to use chicken bones to help add flavour and also cook some chicken pieces in the congee. These chicken pieces are then taken out and the meat is shredded to be put on as a garnish on top of the congee. You may also use mince meat instead of chicken or even prawns and fish meat, usually without bones. You can use different types of vegies to compliment the taste in the dish as well, I like adding carrot and potatoes as my children love their root vegetables however these are not usually found in traditional congees. Adding spinach to the porridge is also something I tend to do. Kids absolutely love it and back home, congee or bubur is food for all ages including the elderly and children and best served to those unwell as it is soft enough to palette and digest, filled with wholesome ingredients.
I personally like my chicken rice porridge to be thick and creamy and since my husband loves the creaminess from the coconut milk, I tend to add a generous amount of coconut milk to balance the dish. I serve congee with soy sauce, finely chopped red chilli, a bit of pepper and lots of fried shallots. I like to cook a large pot of congee so that I can freeze some for a day when I cannot be bothered cooking. It is a filling and satisfying dish and therefore really fulfilling so on the days I don’t cook, I do not feel too bad that I haven’t cooked because the meal is still full of goodness and pleasing to the stomach.
Leftover congee can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Warm in the microwave or on the stovetop and stir in a little extra cooking liquid to loosen it up, if needed.
What are your “go to” recipes?
Thanks for reading!!