Cooking the rice long and slow results in a very silky, smooth congee. It's easy to make ahead and reheat before serving with a little extra stock or water. We've served it with poached chicken here, but for a simpler version, top the congee with a boiled egg or some tofu puffs, and sliced shallots.
- 1 small (about 1.4kg) chicken, rinsed and patted dry
- 400 gm cooked jasmine rice (about 1½ cups uncooked)
- 2 tsp finely grated ginger, plus extra, julienned, to serve (optional)
- 400 ml vegetable oil
- 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced on a mandolin
- 1Bring 3.6 litres water to the boil in a large saucepan. Cut into chicken skin where the thigh meets the breast to help chicken poach evenly. Carefully lower chicken into pan, then dip in and out of the water a couple of times so the water circulates evenly around the bird, then submerge it fully. Bring to the boil, and boil for 2 minutes, then turn off heat and leave chicken submerged in water to finish cooking until cooled completely (3½-4 hours). Remove chicken from stock and tear or slice meat (keep skin on if desired), then refrigerate if not using straight away. Return 2½ litres unstrained stock to the same saucepan (freeze remaining for another use; it will keep frozen for up to 3 months).
- 2Add rice to stock and bring to a simmer. Cover with a lid placed on two chopsticks sitting on the pan in opposing directions to allow steam to escape, reduce heat to low-medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened to your liking (2 hours for a semi-thick porridge). Stir in grated ginger and either keep warm, or cool and refrigerate to serve later. Season porridge at this point with salt and freshly ground white pepper, or add light soy sauce to taste when serving.
- 3For fried garlic, heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic and stir until light golden (30 seconds to 1 minute). Strain in a metal sieve into a heatproof bowl, drain garlic on paper towels and reserve oil for another use. Garlic oil will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a month.
- 4To serve, transfer warm congee to warmed bowls (if you’re reheating it you may need to thin it with a little stock or water), top with chicken, drizzle with light soy sauce and sesame oil to taste, and top with fried garlic, spring onion, julienned ginger and peanuts.