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Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Masterclass: Simple chicken congee recipe

-By Karen 

Hello dearest readers! Thank you for all the supportive comments and tips in my previous post! It has been a great encouragement hearing from all of you, and I look forward to more comments in my future postings! 

In today's post, I thought I'd share a simple chicken congee recipe with you. I was feeling a little unwell last week, and it brought back memories of how horrible it felt to be sick during my uni days. That feeling was worse when the assignment due dates or exams are just round the corner! Those were also the days when feeling homesick would be exaggerated to a whole new level. So a favourite comfort food that I'll usually cook when I'm sick is congee, which is just rice cooked in heaps of water until it breaks down into a thick or creamy consistency. It is popular in the Asian culture and is usually served during breakfast or even as a late supper meal. It is also commonly served to people who are sick because it improves their appetite and is easy to digest while providing much needed nutrients to the body.

So here's how I prepare my chicken congee in combating those snotty tissues...

Preparation: 10 minutes              Cooking: ~1.5 hour

Part 1: For chicken broth
Part 1: Making the chicken broth
  • 1 pc chicken breast with bone (skin removed, fat trimmed, and washed thoroughly)
  • 5-6 cloves of garlic
  • 4 pc Chinese red dates (optional)
  • 6-8 pc peppercorns
  • 6-8 cups water (depending on the size of the chicken and pot)

Part 2: For congee
Part 2: Cooking the congee
  • 1/2 cup rice soaked in water for about 2 hours (Any rice would do but I prefer using sushi rice because it gives a thicker consistency. Left over rice is also great for this recipe and cooking time might be reduced.)
  • Handful (10-15 pcs) goji berries (optional)

1. To make the chicken broth, combine all ingredients in part 1 over medium to high heat. Bring to a boil and cook the ingredients for about 45mins to an hour (broth would have reduced by about half). 

2. Remove the chicken from the broth and drain the broth. Set the chicken aside to cool and shred finely. You can also reserve the garlic cloves or add fresh ones when cooking the congee. (Got a fear of garlic? Don't worry, the garlic will be all mushed up by the time the congee is cooked and you won't really notice it. Garlic is good for cough and colds and it adds extra flavour to the dish)

3. To make the congee, drain the water from the rice and add the rice to the broth. 

4. If you're adding fresh garlic cloves, then add them with the rice. Otherwise add the chicken (I used about 1/2 of the shredded chicken for my dish and kept the rest to use in other dishes, eg. salad or sandwich), leftover garlic, and goji berries half way through the cooking process.

5. Boil the rice for about 25-30min until it is cooked, and simmer for about 20-30mins or until rice has broken down. Stir occasionally to prevent the rice from burning. 

6. Salt and pepper to taste. 

P.S. Remember to stir the congee occasionally to prevent burning (burnt rice stuck to a pot can be a nightmare to remove)

P.P.S. When cooking the congee, you may add extra hot water if you think the consistency is too thick. The congee will thicken up slightly when cooled. 

P.P.P.S. For an extra "zing" factor, serve the dish with some chopped spring onions. 

There you go! My simple home remedy for a snotty tissue fiesta. Congee fills you up and keeps you full for a longer time. Also when you're sick, your taste buds tend to go into sleepy mode too (that's why most people lose their appetite or feel that things don't taste as good when they're sick), and congee is a great pick-me-up and its easy to digest. 

Now that exams are around the corner, do remember to still keep that balance. Remember to eat AND rest well. Bulk up on Vitamin C to give your immune system an extra boost. Best wishes for the exams!! You're almost reaching the finishing line!! 

Would love to hear your comments and queries about the dish so do remember to drop a line or two in the comments section below. And do let us know if you would like to see more recipes in future postings! 


  1. thanks for sharing chicken congee with wolfberries :) I will try it one day...

  2. Sounds like an awesome immunity booster. I fed my kids rice congee (plain, no other flavorings) as their first food-it's a great first food for babies :)