Hmong Rice Porridge (Congee) with a Modern Twist

Rice porridge is a common dish among numerous Asian countries. It varies in name, texture, and ingredients throughout all of Asia (see Congee). With rice being the main course of many meals, it is not surprising how popular this dish is in Asian countries. What amazes me is how the recipe differs from region to region within a country. I guess you can say that rice porridge in Asian countries is the equivalent of mac and cheese in America.
With regards to Hmong culture, rice porridge is often given to elders, babies, and individuals recovering from illnesses. Traditionally, Hmong people eat rice porridge plain consisting of just rice cooked in water, which doesn’t provide much nutritional value. However, it is light on the stomach, and effectively in recovering health.
Growing up, I’ve only always made traditional plain rice porridge when I was sick with occasional dashes of sugar for a sweet taste. But in today’s blog post, I will be attempting to make rice porridge with a little modern twist. Bear with me! I assure you it will be worth it 🙂

Meet the Main Ingredients

rice porridge ingredients

Ingredients List:

  • 1 diced chicken breast
  • 2 long stalks of celery (diced)
  • 3 small carrots (diced)
  • 1 cup – short grain rice
    • You can use any type of rice you want. I prefer short grain for rice porridge because it softens better when cooking.
  • 6 cups – water
    • You may want to use 8 cups of water. I used 6 cups and mine turned out a little too thick 😦

Preparation

  • Dice chicken and vegetables
  • Rinse rice until water is clear

Cooking Instructions

cooking instructions

  1. Cook diced chicken in 3 cups of water for 5-10 minutes or until fully cooked.
  2. Add salt.
  3. Strain chicken out of pot.
  4. Add rice to the pot of chicken broth.
  5. Cook until the texture starts to thickens (approx. 10-12 minutes).
  6. Add the chicken (which was strained out earlier) and raw vegetables into the pot.
  7. Add 3 cups of water to pot.
  8. Cook for another 15-20 minutes until texture thickens to your liking.

Presentation: Rice Porridge w/ a Modern Twist

modern day rice porridge

  • Scoop rice porridge into a bowl.
  • Optional: Add a drizzle of soy sauce, black pepper, and chopped green onion for a kick of flavor.

Happy Eating! 🙂

Fish Dish: Boiled Tilapia w/ Herbs and Veggies

Hunting and gathering have always been basic functions of traditional Hmong culture. Fishing was always an available source of food and fish were abundant in supply. Many traditional Hmong dishes which incorporate fish are adopted from geological locations of residence such as Laos, Thailand, China, and Vietnam. Nowadays, in modern Hmong culture, fishing is less of a necessity as we can purchase fish from grocers. But the ingredients of this delicious dish remain (for the most part) the same as well as the flavor.

For as long as I can remember, my mom has always made boiled Tilapia at least once every few weeks for my dad. This dish is probably one of my dad’s favorites. It’s extremely nutritious and you’ll be surprised by how easy it is to make. The fresh herbs and vegetables assist in bringing out an amazingly rich taste and aroma. Let’s get started, shall we?

Meet the Main Ingredients

fresh ingredients   tilapia

Ingredients List:

Preparation

preparation

  1. Chop up the vegetables and herbs.
  2. Cut the Tilapia fish into four pieces as show in the photo above.

Let’s get cooking!

cooking

Cooking Instructions:
  1. Put 5 cups of water into cooking pot.
  2. Put the pot on the stove – high heat. 
  3. Add the cut up Tilapia fish to the pot.
  4. Add the Thai chili peppers and lemon grass.
  5. Bring the pot to a boil.
  6. Add salt.
  7. Add the rest of the vegetables and herbs.
  8. Cook for a total of 30 minutes or until fish is fully cooked.

Presentation: Boiled Tilapia w/ herbs and veggies

cooked fish

  • Take the pieces of Tilapia fish out from the pot and assemble them on a plate.
  • Pour the fish broth over the fish.
  • Spoon the herbs and vegetables over the fish as pictured above.

*Best served with a side of sticky rice.

Alternative: Try adding tomatoes for a kick of flavor 🙂

Enjoy!

Chicken Soup for the Soul

Boiled Chicken is a traditional hearty and healthy Hmong recipe. What makes it unique is the incorporation of a farm-fresh whole chicken and unique Hmong herbs. This dish has been a significant part of Hmong culture for many years. Additionally, it’s essential to Hmong women’s postpartum diet as MaiBao describes in her blog.

WHFoods states that boiled chicken is a great source of protein which helps prevent bone loss and B vitamins for energy metabolism. The homemade broth from the boiled chicken provides great nutritional value as described in Kitchen Stewardship.

I will be showing you two different nutritional dishes that can be derived from boiled chicken:

  1. Seasoned Boiled Chicken served with rice – 6-8 servings
  2. Pho Banh No (Fawm Npab Nauj) – Single serving

Meet the main ingredients:

chicken

I am using a store bought, whole chicken that is technically “farm-fresh” from a Hmong farm in Mosinee, WI (found at my parent’s local Hmong grocery store). You could probably find something similar at your local Asian supermarket.

rice noodles

This is a special kind of rice noodles used specifically for Pho Banh No (also from my parent’s Hmong grocery store). You can probably also find this at your local Asian supermarket. I will be using approximately 1 cup for one serving.

Now for a general overview of how to make Boiled Chicken and Pho Banh No…

Boiled Chicken:

chicken and herbs

  1. Clean and gut chicken
  2. Put chicken into pot
  3. Add water until chicken is completely submerged
  4. Put on stove and bring to a boil
  5. Add lemon grass and optional herbs
  6. Boil until chicken is cooked (approx. 20-30 mins)
  7. Take chicken out of pot and chop into pieces – (Save broth for the Pho Banh No)
  8. Add 1 tsp salt to chicken broth
  9. Season chicken pieces with 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp black pepper
  10. Serve with rice

cooked chicken

Final - Boiled Chicken

Pho Banh No:

  1. Soak noodles in hot sink water for 15-20 minutes
  2. Drain noodles
  3. Put one cup of noodles into a bowl
  4. Pour hot broth over noodles
  5. Add black pepper and green onion for seasoning

Preparing noodles

noodles - green onion

And there you have it, two simple and healthy dishes made from one pot of boiled chicken. Bon appetit!

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