Chicken and rice is a time-tested combination, and this version shines in its ability to be both light and filling, warming and bracing. Poached chicken (flavored subtly with ginger and garlic) tops a heaping scoop of congee, a thick rice porridge. Crunchy marinated cucumbers add a bit of heat and freshness, and a drizzle of soy sauce seasons the whole bowl to perfection.
Ginger-Poached Chicken & Congee with Spicy Marinated Cucumbers & Scallions
Time: 65 to 75 minutes
2 chicken breasts
½ cup jasmine rice
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
3 2-inch pieces of ginger, peeled
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced into rounds
3 scallions, white bottoms cut into 1/2-inch pieces, green tops thinly sliced on an angle
1 tbsp soy sauce, plus more for serving
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp sesame oil
⅛ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Make the congee:
In a medium pot, combine the rice, chicken stock, ½ cup of water, 1 piece of ginger, and a big pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally to keep the rice from sticking, 45 to 50 minutes, or until thickened. Turn off the heat. Carefully remove and discard the ginger.
2. Marinate the cucumbers:
While the congee cooks, in a bowl, combine the cucumbers, sesame oil, crushed red pepper flakes, and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside to marinate, stirring occasionally. Carefully remove and discard the ginger.
3. Poach the chicken:
Once the congee has cooked for about 20 minutes, in a separate medium pot, combine the chicken, ginger, garlic, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 2 ½ cups water, and white scallion bottoms; add more water as needed until the chicken is just covered. Heat over medium until just simmering (a slow process which will take 10 to 15 minutes, don’t rush it!). Reduce the heat to low and cook 13 to 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through (when pierced with a knife in the thickest part, the juices should run clear). Transfer the chicken to a plate; cover to keep warm. Strain the poaching liquid to remove the solids. Reserve the liquid and ginger.
4. Slice the chicken & serve your dish:
Slice the cooked chicken crosswise. Serve the finished congee topped with the sliced chicken. Drizzle with the soy sauce. Top with the marinated cucumbers (draining before adding), sliced green tops of the scallions, and sesame seeds. Enjoy!