If you love comfort food you’ll love this recipe! I’ll admit it’s not the most attractive looking bowl of food – but it’s one of my favourite meals, and it takes me back to my childhood every time I eat it. It’s basically an asian version of a good ol’ bowl of oatmeal. I still remember visiting Taiwan as a little girl and being excited to wake up to have this for breakfast. Growing up, this became one of those staple meals my mom made when we were sick or had sore tummies. I can still remember the big pot on the stove gently simmering away and me asking my mom, “is it ready yet?”. Because the rice and whatever else you choose to put into it cooks slowly for a long period of time, it has a pleasant soft and mushy consistency. Sounds weird…but honestly it just warms your heart and soothes your stomach because it is easy to digest. Even more soothing if you add slices of ginger to it! And if you use a good chicken broth (or put chicken bones in it as my mom sometimes does), then the whole house just smells like comfort.
I started making this a lot because the boss (my 7 month old) was having trouble with her tummy once we introduced solids at 6 months…and I found it particularly worse if she had iron fortified rice cereal. Pureed prunes helped but giving her prunes all the the time just seemed mean! I wouldn’t want prunes with every meal. So I gave her this one day and she gobbled it up. I love it because I can put lots of iron rich foods into the porridge (such as dark greens, chicken, or lentils) and I can make a lot of it easily in a slow cooker. What’s even better is that my whole family enjoys it, so it is a very welcome meal in our household. Even my husband loves it – when you think of baby food you don’t think man food but when he comes home from work and smells it in the slow cooker I get a “mmmmm!”. Win win.
The recipe below uses ingredients left over from my previous post, roasted chicken for all.
what you need:
- 10 cups chicken stock (homemade recipe) or water
- 3 big slices of fresh ginger *optional
- 1 roasted chicken breast
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup frozen edamame, shelled
- 1 1/2 cups mixed brown and white rice, short grain for a traditional asian style congee
- 1 green onion and a little fresh cilantro, optional for garnish
- naturally brewed soy sauce
what to do:
- Tear up the chicken breast into small pieces, sort of like a pulled pork style.
- Rinse rice in cold water, then place into slow cooker.
- Add stock, ginger and chicken to slow cooker as well.
- Cook on low setting for 5 hours (my slow cooker has two settings), stirring once or twice if possible – then add in the edamame. You may need to add a bit more stock or water at this point – about 1/2 cup or so. You can tell by looking at the edges – if the rice seems like it’s turning golden/brown or it’s very stuck to the sides, you definitely want to add liquid.
- Cook on low for another 2-3 hours, then add the peas for the last few minutes, just to warm them up.
- Finely chop green onion and cilantro.
- Ladle into bowls to serve, topping with 1 tsp soy sauce, green onion and cilantro. For baby food, simply omit garnish. Enjoy!