It has been cold lately here in the Midwest and we have been sick. Growing up, we were prepared porridge to make us feel better. Usually, when I get sick, I can’t taste much so I don’t really feel like eating. But this porridge dish just hits the spot. The ginger in this dish helps clear sinuses and throat congestion. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. I also put some turmeric which is not a traditional ingredient in this dish but is good to fight inflammation.
Porridge is usually made with white rice. I wanted to make it healthier than it already is by using brown rice instead. For the broth, I used one whole chicken. I did not use the whole chicken, just the chicken broth. If I only use chicken breast, the broth will not have enough flavor. Then, I used the chicken broth to cook the rice and the leftover chicken was used for a different dish the next day. Another deviation from the traditional recipe is using chicken broth the cook the rice. The authentic way to cook porridge is by boiling the rice separately in water the add the broth. To elevate the flavor, I used homemade chicken broth to cook the rice.
For the Homemade Chicken Broth
1 lb chicken breasts (I used 1 whole chicken)
1 medium whole onion
2 stalks celery, cut into 2 inch lengths
enough water to cover chicken (minimum of 5 cups if using just breasts or thighs)
For the Porridge
1 c brown rice (soaked in water for 30 minutes)
4 c chicken broth (more if needed)
1 tbsp ginger, minced
sea salt and pepper to taste
shredded chicken breast
1 tsp turmeric (optional)
roasted sesame oil (optional)
scallions chopped for garnish
fried shallots or fried garlic
You can make the broth ahead of time.
In a stockpot place your chicken & vegetables. Add enough water to cover the chicken and vegetables. Cook on high until you get a rolling boil. Turn down the heat to Low or Medium Low and let the broth simmer. I do this so the broth will not be too cloudy. Cook for 30 minutes to give better flavor. Spoon off the scum from the top and discard.
In the meantime, in a deep bowl, soak the brown rice in 4 cups of water. This step will lessen the cooking time.
When the broth is done, remove the chicken and vegetable, leaving just the broth in the pot. Drain the rice and add to the broth. Toss in the ginger and turmeric. Cook until the rice is done. Season with salt and pepper.
To serve, pour some porridge in a bowl. Drizzle sesame oil. Top with shredded chicken, fried shallots (or garlic) and chopped scallions.