Vietnamese Chicken Porridge (Chao Ga)

Simple, tasty, yet still nutritious and healthy, it’s Vietnamese Chicken Porridge, or ‘Cháo Gà.’ Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a beginner in Vietnamese cuisine, you can definitely make this dish. This is a great choice for daily meals, but it’s also an excellent option when you are tired or sick.

vietnamese chicken porridge

Chicken Porridge in Vietnamese Culture

I’ve known chicken porridge since I was a little kid. My mom made chicken porridge as a healthy, digestion-friendly dish for babies. It was a must-have at family gatherings or special occasions, and even a regular meal in our everyday life. She carefully selected the best chickens, not too young but not too old, ensuring they were firm, white, juicy, and tender to make Vietnamese chicken porridge.

I used to stay away from chicken porridge for a while because I had to eat it too often during holidays and family gatherings like death anniversaries, Tet, or full moon worship. However, now that I’m far away from home, I can’t live without chicken porridge, especially when I’m sick. It’s simple, tasty, and incredibly nutritious and healthy. Feeling tired? Chicken porridge. Running a fever? Chicken porridge. Dealing with a hangover? Chicken porridge. That’s how Vietnamese people enjoy this dish.

The ingredients for Vietnamese chicken porridge are also very simple. You’ll only need rice, chicken, salt, and perhaps a piece of ginger and shallot to enhance the flavor. When serving the dish, garnish it with ground pepper, a handful of chopped spring onions, and fried shallots, and that’s it.

Ingredients

Which types of Rice for Vietnamese Chicken Porridge

Vietnamese Chicken Porridge is a versatile recipe that can be made with various types of medium or long-grain rice. For instance, common long-grain rice varieties like ST24, ST25, Jasmine, and Huong Lai are suitable for making porridge. Among these, jasmine rice stands out as one of the most popular choices. You can opt for either Thai jasmine rice or Vietnamese jasmine rice.

However, it’s important to note that basmati rice or short-grain rice, such as Japanese rice and Italian Arborio rice, are not suitable choices for making Vietnamese chicken porridge. The texture, thickness of the porridge, and the overall taste will differ from an authentic Vietnamese chicken porridge.

Chicken

You have the flexibility to use a whole chicken, whole leg, or leg quarter to prepare chicken porridge. However, a whole chicken is often the preferred choice as it provides ample chicken bones to infuse natural umami flavor into the porridge. Whenever possible, consider opting for free-range chickens or stewing chickens, as they are the most suitable types for preparing both chicken porridge and chicken pho.

easy chicken pho recipe
Stewing chicken

Aroma and seasonings

To elevate the flavor of your chicken porridge, simply add a few slices of ginger and some shallots to the pot. Adjust the taste with either salt or fish sauce according to your preference.

Toppings

Chopped spring onions are an essential topping for Vietnamese chicken porridge. In addition, you can enhance your dish with fried shallots, boiled eggs or young eggs, or even fried donuts (quẩy).

How to Cook Vietnamese Chicken Porridge

Step 1. Preparation

  • Chicken: Rinse the chicken pieces (or a whole chicken in my case) under cold water, rubbing a bit of salt on the skin. Pat them dry with paper towels. In a large pot, bring water to a rolling boil. Add the chicken and let it cook for about 2-3 minutes. After parboiling, discard the water and rinse the chicken pieces to remove any residue.
  • Rice: Place the desired amount of rice in the pot and rinse it under cold water 1-2 times until the water runs clear. Then, soak the rice in water.

Step 2. Boiling Chicken

  • In a large pot, add 5 liters of water, along with the chicken, shallot, and ginger. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, and then maintain a rolling boil for an additional 30-45 minutes. If you’re using a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, the cooking time will be shorter, around 15-20 minutes. Afterward, skim off any impurities or foam that rise to the surface using a fine-mesh skimmer or a spoon.
Vietnamese Chicken Porridge
  • To check if the chicken is fully cooked, insert a chopstick or fork into the center of the chicken. If the juice runs clear, your chicken is done. Set it aside to cool, then shred the meat off the bones or cut it into pieces. You can also return the bones to the pot for further simmering if you like a richer broth.

Step 3. Cooking porridge

  • Add the soaked rice to the pot with the boiling chicken broth. Stir it to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom. If you’re using a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, close the lid and cook the rice for around 30 minutes; for a regular pot, cook it for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Afterward, test if the rice is fully cooked. The rice should swell completely, and the porridge should thicken due to the starch in the rice. Turn off the heat and adjust the taste with salt and fish sauce.

Step 4. Serving

  • Serve the chicken porridge in a bowl and top it with shredded or cut chicken. Garnish the bowl with spring onions, fried shallots, and ground pepper.
Vietnamese chicken porridge

Storing Vietnamese Chicken Porridge

Chicken porridge can be kept at room temperature for up to a day and in the fridge for 2-3 days. It’s important to store the porridge and boiled chicken separately. When reheating, you can use a microwave or stovetop and heat it until it boils. Always taste your chicken porridge, and if it starts to sour, it has spoiled, and you should discard it entirely.

Vietnamese chicken porridge

Vietnamese Chicken Porridge

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Simple, tasty, yet still nutritious and healthy, it's Vietnamese Chicken Porridge, or 'Cháo Gà, a great choice for daily meals.

Ingredients

Toppings

  • A cup of chopped spring onions
  • 1/2 cup fried shallots
  • Ground pepper

Instructions

Step 1. Preparation

  • Chicken: Rinse the chicken pieces (or a whole chicken in my case) under cold water, rubbing a bit of salt on the skin. Pat them dry with paper towels. In a large pot, bring water to a rolling boil. Add the chicken and let it cook for about 2-3 minutes. After parboiling, discard the water and rinse the chicken pieces to remove any residue.easy chicken pho recipe
  • Rice: Place the desired amount of rice in the pot and rinse it under cold water 1-2 times until the water runs clear. Then, soak the rice in water.instant pot rice

Step 2. Boiling Chicken

  • In a large pot, add 5 liters of water, along with the chicken, shallot, and ginger. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, and then maintain a rolling boil for an additional 30-45 minutes. If you're using a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, the cooking time will be shorter, around 15-20 minutes. Afterward, skim off any impurities or foam that rise to the surface using a fine-mesh skimmer or a spoon.Vietnamese Chicken Porridge
  • To check if the chicken is fully cooked, insert a chopstick or fork into the center of the chicken. If the juice runs clear, your chicken is done. Set it aside to cool, then shred the meat off the bones or cut it into pieces. You can also return the bones to the pot for further simmering if you like a richer broth.Vietnamese Chicken Porridge

Step 3. Cooking porridge

  • Add the soaked rice to the pot with the boiling chicken broth. Stir it to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom. If you're using a pressure cooker or Instant Pot, close the lid and cook the rice for around 30 minutes; for a regular pot, cook it for 45 minutes to 1 hour.Vietnamese chicken porridge
  • Afterward, test if the rice is fully cooked. The rice should swell completely, and the porridge should thicken due to the starch in the rice. Turn off the heat and adjust the taste with salt and fish sauce.Vietnamese chicken porridge

Step 4. Serving

  • Serve the chicken porridge in a bowl and top it with shredded or cut chicken. Garnish the bowl with spring onions, fried shallots, and ground pepper.Vietnamese chicken porridge

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 650g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 350

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