"Chao" is a savory rice porridge that is particularly comforting during times of illness, but really can be enjoyed anytime. There are many variations of it, but I make the most simple one. I find I typically have all the necessary ingredients on hand. The soft, warm texture makes it easy to digest, and the ginger in here is good for upset stomachs. I also think the black pepper (if you choose to put it on top as a garnish) is helpful in clearing the sinuses. I hope you enjoy it, and find it as comforting as we do.
1 Cup uncooked jasmine (white) rice, plus about 1 1/2 to 2 cups water for cooking
4-6 Cups chicken stock (preferably homemade)
2 thick slices of peeled fresh ginger
dash of sugar
a couple dashes of fish sauce, or alternatively, soy sauce
optional (but highly recommended) garnishes:
chopped green onion
1. Rinse the rice and cook it in a rice cooker, or however you would normally prepare it.
~note: You could also make this a one-pot dish by cooking the rice in the stock instead of water (just be sure to add more stock, about 2 more cups worth). I find, though, I get a better texture by just pre-cooking the rice and then adding it to the stock. I feel it's also faster and easier this way, which are good things when you're not feeling well!
2. Bring chicken stock and ginger to a boil in a medium sized pot.
~note: If you don't have chicken stock already made, simply boil some chicken parts, such as a couple drumsticks, along with the ginger, in about 6 cups of water for 30 minutes or so before adding the rice.
3. Stir in cooked rice, a little at a time, until the porridge is a bit thinner than your desired consistency.
4. Add the sugar and fish sauce.
5. Let the rice cook with the stock on low heat for about 15 minutes, which will further soften and break down the rice. Cook longer if porridge is still too thin for your liking, or add more stock if you want it to be more soupy.
6. Ladle into individual bowls and garnish with black pepper and green onions, if desired.