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April 6, 2006
Comfort food

[Vietnamese chicken porridge bento]

Left: chickenless nuggets (non-GF), edamame, and yakisoba with mixed veggies (non-GF)
Right: chao ga (Vietnamese porridge with chicken) with scallion and cilantro garnish

I have been giving much love to my Totoro bowl bento lately. These are still available online (through JBox and eBay), and I also noticed a similar usagi bowl bento available from Nagomi, Inc. (see my links list) that I definitely would buy if I didn't already have a bowl bento.

Chao ga is one of my favorite things to eat when I'm feeling a little under the weather or when it is nippy outside. It tastes wonderful if you make it the old school way, using a whole chicken and simmering for hours on end. I don't have time for that though, and I use an abbreviated method, but it is still pretty close to the real thing!

- Porridge -
1 cup rice (I use jasmine/long-grain for this recipe)
1 tbsp canola oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
7 cups water + more
1-inch slice of ginger, peeled, sliced and bruised with the knife handle
4 chicken breasts (or use 1/2 a chicken)
5 cups chicken broth (low-sodium)
salt, to taste
fish sauce, to taste
sugar, to taste
- Garnish -
2 scallions, thinly sliced
5 sprigs cilantro, chopped
black pepper, to taste
  1. Wash and drain the rice thoroughly. Heat oil in a frying pan and stir-fry the rice and onion until the rice turns white. Set aside.
  2. In a soup pot, combine the water, ginger, chicken and salt and bring to a boil. Skim off the foam until clear and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  3. Remove chicken from pot and add the rice and onion mixture. Simmer for 45 minutes, adding chicken broth as needed to thin the porridge to the desired consistency. Season to taste with the salt, fish sauce, and sugar (I start with 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tbsp fish sauce, 1 tsp sugar and go from there).
  4. Skin, debone and coarsely shred the chicken and return it to the soup. Before serving, add scallions and cilantro and sprinkle withblack pepper.
*Use gluten-free products
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