Photo of chicken congee
Chicken congee is easy to digest and can help maintain energy levels while you are convalescing. [Photo: Dorling Kindersley]

Warm chicken congee

23 December, 2015

Congee is a soothing, nourishing food that is particularity suitable for those who are exhausted or convalescing.

It is easy to digest, helps to soothe your stomach and maintain your energy levels.The good news it you don’t have to be ill to enjoy it! Congee is enjoyed by Asian cultures around the world as a nourishing meal at any time.

This dish is based around rice that has been left to gently simmer in water on the lowest possible heat for up to 6 hours, stirring regularly to prevent it from sticking, and then adding other ingredients.

This recipe is an adaptation of the original and cooks in half the time or less.We use chicken but you can easily substitute other type of bird like turkey, quail or even pigeon. Serves 4-6.


  • 1 organic free-range chicken, about 1.5kg (31b 30z)
  • 200g (70z) long-grain or basmati brown rice
  • 5cm (2in) piece of fresh root ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp tamari soy sauce*
    1 tbsp sesame seed oil (toasted sesame seed oil is fine)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped spring onions, to garnish
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped chopped coriander, to garnish

*Tamari is a type of soy sauce that contains little or no wheat, making it a good, gluten-free choice.


1 Place the chicken, rice, and ginger in a large heavy-based saucepan with a lid. Cover the ingredients with water and bring to the boil. Then reduce the heat to low and gently simmer for 1 1/2 to 3 hours or until the chicken meat is falling off the bones and the rice is soft. Add more water if necessary during cooking to prevent the congee from boiling dry. Congee should have a thick stew-like consistency.

2 Remove the pan from the heat, transfer the chicken to a plate, and carefully remove the bones and skin. Shred the chicken meat and return it to the pan. Add the tamari soy sauce, sesame oil, and sea salt and black pepper to taste, and stir to combine.

3 Divide the congee between 4 serving bowls, garnish with the spring onions and coriander leaves, and serve.