Maybe you’re sick, or you just want to try something new. Either way, my chicken congee recipe is sure to taste like comfort– and your gut will thank you!
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IMPORTANT TO NOTE: In my pictures, I garnished my congee with Szechuan peppercorn (the little red dots on top). Aesthetically speaking, it adds some nice color. Culinarily speaking, it was way too overpowering and tasted awful. Crunching into one of these peppercorns will ruin your meal. If you really want some color in your congee, I suggest some cayenne or other ground pepper. I repeat, do NOT add Szechuan peppercorns to this dish! Just as a matter of transparency. 🙂
I write this post, not knowing if I’m going to be totally fine in the morning or knocked out with the worst strain of the flu this season has to offer.
Today, I started exhibiting the beginning flu symptoms that others in the house were showing. Unsteady legs, dizziness, cloudy thought, a slight headache, and a little sore throat.
Instead of rolling over and letting this sickness take me, I set off to work. I ain’t got time for this sickness and these posts don’t write themselves!
So I took my zinc, colloidal silver (I mean, its supposed to help) and skipped the second cup of coffee, opting for water and tea instead.
But most importantly, I made and ate soup from my stock of stocks, or bone broths. Today, it’s turkey stock I froze from Thanksgiving.
Stock is great for all-around health. It’s great for your immune system, your joint health, and your digestive process. And when you’re sick, bone broths are some of the best ways to help your body get better.
Or in this case, fend it off.
But seriously, this is the bones of an animal. You’re getting all of their connective tissues, proteins, vitamins, and minerals all in one easy-to-digest package. This means less work for your body to digest the nutrients and more work that can be done in fighting off the sickness! (Feel free to check my sources here and here.)
In an unrelated search, I thought about my lost love: congee (pronounced cone-jee)
I don’t know what got me thinking about it, but congee was a dish you found at most breakfasts and even at KFC in China. It’s a rice porridge of sorts. Think of it as risotto, but soupier and less, well, Italian. And I hadn’t had it in a good long while.
While I was there, I learned that congee was a breakfast staple of many Chinese people. In other parts of the world, this same porridge is called Jok. (Feel free to correct me in the comments below.)
Despite its proliferate nature in the eastern hemisphere, congee is an unsung hero of the western world.
And then I got around to reading an interview done by The Kitchn with someone who was Chinese, talking about how chicken congee was basically the chicken noodle soup of the East.
Oh, really? When we had congee in China, it was a breakfast thing. There were no fancy additives, just rice and water. I should have assumed that you could add way more to such a bland dish.
So, in the spirit of the flu season, I added some very healthy additives to my Asian-inspired chicken congee.
First up, I replaced most of the water with poultry stock.
Strangely enough, I didn’t have any chicken stock the first go around and used turkey stock. The second time I made it, I had the chicken stock. I have to say, I prefer the chicken over the turkey, but either will work well.
Secondly, I used chicken thighs.
Not only are they my favorite cut of chicken (flavorful, juicy meat for far less money than breasts), but you get a free bone with every thigh! I cut mine out ahead of time, but you can leave it in all the same.
Cooking t he bone gives you more flavor, texture, and nutrients. Wins all around.
Third, I added ginger.
I used to hate ginger. But along with avocados and bell peppers, I have trained myself to like it, even if only in small doses. Ginger has a lot of health benefits too, but it is also supposed to be really good in clearing out your sinuses. (source)
If you have a gunked up chest or sinuses, consider adding some spicy spice. Adding a kick to your dishes is supposed to help release some of the fluids so it is better expelled from your body. (source)
Hey, I’m trying to explain the process tastefully.
Feel free to top your congee with just about anything. I topped mine with wilted spinach, soy sauce, and sesame seeds for a little pop. Top with whatever your heart desires!
And one last note about Instant Pot congee.
Yes, I have an Instant pot and I love it! I highly recommend getting Instant Pot for other food applications.
But in this scenario, I wouldn’t recommend using the pressure cooker. Sure, it is much more hands off and doesn’t require babysitting. On the flip side, you can’t add ingredients when you want to and you can’t stir it.
So can you make chicken congee in an Instant Pot? Yes. Do I think its best? No, not really. But if you want congee and can’t wait over the stove, Using an Instant Pot is the next best bet. Use the normal porridge setting with the pressure set to high (it’s default for porridge), and naturally release.
So, I raise my bowl to the ones who can’t take another bowl of chicken noodle soup during flu season.
I hope my chicken congee recipe is comforting to your heart– as well as your gut. It can use all the help it can get!
Oh, and I should also say I didn’t get the flu like I thought I was going to. 🙂
Tried out my congee recipe? Be sure to tag me @fooddrinkslife and/or use #fooddrinkslife on your Facebook or Instagram– I’d love to know what you dears are cooking up!