Chicken rice soup, also called chicken congee or chicken porridge is commonly used to nurture sickly family members. This hot chicken soup in addition to onion slices and Vietnamese coriander is very light and easy on your stomach, and it’s a traditional way to help ease the fever, headache, and sorethroat. I always cook this soup when anyone in my family is sick. My husband loves it, he always asks for Chicken Rice Soup when he’s not feeling well. This dish can also be served as a light lunch or dinner.
Recipe for Cháo Gà – Vietnamese Chicken Rice Soup or Chicken Congee:
1/2 small onion, lightly grilled
1 small piece of ginger (2 inches), sliced
1 tbsp Asian fish sauce
1 tsp cracked black pepper
1/2 (2lb) whole chicken
1 piece of rock sugar (~1 tbsp sugar)
1/3 cup long grain rice
1/3 cup mung beans (no skins)
2 tbsp chopped Vietnamese coriander leaves
1 tbsp sliced scallions, or onions
2 tbsp of chopped cilantro leaves
In a large sauce pan place 5 cups of water, bring to a boil, add the chicken and bring it back to a boil. Turn off the heat, discard the water and wash the chicken clean. This first water is full of impurities, I always discard it. Clean the saucepan and add 8 cups of water, return to a boil and put the chicken back it to the saucepan. Add the onion, ginger, fish sauce, sugar, 1 tsp salt, and pepper and let it simmer for 30 mins, skimming the impurities from the surface.
While the chicken is simmering, in a clean saucepan, fry the mung beans over low heat until fragrant but not brown. Add fried beans to the chicken stock. Decrease the heat to a simmer and cook the mung beans, stirring regularly, for 25 to 30 mins.
After 30 mins of cooking, remove the chicken and plunge into ice water for 10 mins, reserving the stock. Put the chicken in a colander and allow to drain. Shred the chicken into bite-size pieces, then marinate with 1 tsp of salt, a pinch of pepper, juice from 1/2 lime, and add in Vietnamese coriander leaves, mix well and set aside.
In the same sauce pan you fried the mung beans, fry rice over low heat until fragrant but not brown. Discard onion and ginger from the stock, then add rice to the soup, stirring up so rice and mung beans are mixed evenly. Cook for around 25-30 mins or until rice grains have bloomed and curled, stirring regularly to avoid scorching. Taste and add extra salt, as necessary.
Fold the shredded chicken through the chao and ladle into individual soup bowls. Garnish with the sliced scallions, cilantro and squeze in couple drops of lime juice as desired.
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