Congee is light, flavourful and very comforting. It is excellent when you are feeling under the weather and can be eaten any time of day. You can add more rice if you prefer a thicker soup.
The best cooking method for the broth is to have enough heat to cook the chicken without having any sort of bubbling whatsoever. This takes about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours for a small stewing chicken but it produces a clear broth with a much better flavour, without having lots of chicken bits and foam. If you are in a hurry, just boil the chicken, reduce to medium heat and cover the pot.
Chao ga or Vietnamese congee does not usually contain lemongrass, but I guess the addition may help to make the broth more fragrant. Additionally, you may not want to stir the rice very often or at all while cooking as this will often cause scorching at the bottom of the pot. Wait until the rice has cooked for 20 -30 minutes or just right before the you are about to eat to stir up the pot to break the rice grains. The cooking time for the chicken is also quite lengthy. If chicken were left to cook that long the meat would no longer be good. Too mushy and stringy. What my mom and I usually do is to cook the chicken for 30 to 45 mins depending on size, set the chicken aside to cool for a bit then remove the meat. We then return the bones to the pot to continue making the stock. Last but not least, the original preparation of chao contains garishes of cilantro, scallions aka green onions(not chives), and thinly sliced slivers of ginger. If scallions are not available then the next best substitute would be thinly sliced onions. - 24 Sep 2007 (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)
Hey all just a tip on the rice. The way I learned to cook it was to soak the rice first in warm water, that'll help make the soup a little less thick. I like to break the rice in warm water by hand before putting it into the pot so that the rice is smaller and a bit of smoother consistency. Another way to prepare the rice is to slightly brown it in a dry skillet that gives it a little bit more flavor, which is really good. I also cook the broth with a whole onion and carrots which is great when you're sick. - 20 Nov 2007 (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)
Excellent recipe. Tastes just like my mom's "chau" (Vietnamese word for congee). I doubled everything in the recipe except for the rice, which I added 2 cups of instead. I didn't add any lime juice. Great comfort food! - 14 Jan 2004 (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)