Mama Pham's Congee (Cháo Gà Xé Phay)
- 1 cup uncooked rice
- 1 whole free-range chicken ("walking chicken" in Vietnamese)
- ½ tablespoon salt
- 1 inch of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 onions, peeled and sliced in half
- 2 scallion stalks, thinly sliced
- handful of mint, sliced
- ½ lemon, juiced
- cilantro (for garnish)
- Chicken bouillon (optional)
- MSG (optional)
- Sugar (to taste)
- Salt (to taste)
Side garnishes as you please!
Let’s get cooking:
- In a large stock pot, add the chicken, onion, and ginger and cover with water. Bring pot to a boil, then lower heat to low. Cover and cook for 45 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Skim the top to remove excess fat. (Pro tip: to test if the chicken is done, pierce it with chopsticks. If the liquid runs clear and not pink, you’re good to go!)
- Remove chicken and let it cool. Once cooled, shred up chicken (ideally by hand!) and mix with scallions (reserve some for garnish), mint, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and set aside. (Pro tip: Mama Pham shreds the chicken into small, bite-size pieces by hand. This is considered the best way to prepare Cháo Gà Xé Phay, or shredded chicken congee.)
- Add uncooked rice into the chicken stock and cook for 60 minutes on medium. Remember to stir the bottom of the pot to prevent rice from burning.
- Once the rice has thickened and softened, season to taste with salt, chicken bouillon (optional), MSG (optional), and sugar.
- You’re done! Ladle the congee in a bowl and top with shredded chicken mix. Garnish with scallions, cilantro, and pepper to taste.