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Milk Street Bowtie Vietnamese Rice Soup with Chicken (Cháo Gà)

Vietnamese Rice Soup with Chicken (Cháo Gà)

4 Servings

55 minutes (30 minutes active) 30 minutes active

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This is a hearty but not heavy bowl of soupy rice. It often is served with garnishes that offer textural and flavor contrasts. In Vietnam, it’s known as cháo and frequently is eaten for breakfast. Seasoned with modest amounts of garlic, ginger and fish sauce, our version is built from simple, clean yet wholly satisfying flavors. Cilantro and scallions add bright color and fresh notes, and ground black pepper lends a touch of heat and pungency. The soup will continue to thicken as it stands; to adjust the consistency, stir in water or chicken broth a few tablespoons at a time.

4

Servings

Tip

Don't use long- or medium-grain rice. The high starch content of short-grain rice gives the soup its thick, creamy consistency. And don't rinse the rice before cooking so that the grains retain as much starch as possible.

55 minutes (30 minutes active)

30 minutes active

2 quarts low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup Japanese-style short-grain rice
3 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts reserved separately
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
2 8- to 10-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon fish sauce
½ cup lightly packed fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Lime wedges, to serve
Ingredients
  • 2

    quarts low-sodium chicken broth

  • 1

    cup Japanese-style short-grain rice

  • 3

    medium garlic cloves, finely grated

  • 2

    teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger

  • 1

    bunch scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts reserved separately

  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

  • 2

    8- to 10-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  • 1

    tablespoon fish sauce

  • ½

    cup lightly packed fresh cilantro, finely chopped

  • Lime wedges, to serve

Directions

Vietnamese Rice Soup with Chicken (Cháo Gà)

More
Reviews
Walter J F.

As written, it seems that one is cooking the rice for about 40 +/- minutes. This sounds more like the times to cook rice into porridge like consistency, aka jook or congee. It seems more reasonable to make the broth, cook the chicken, then add the rice and cook for the last 20 or so minutes, which is more than enough cooking time for the rice. Please clarify.

Lynn C.

Hi Walter -

This is essentially Vietnamese congee therefore meant to have a porridge-like consistency. Hence the longer cooking time.

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Walter J F.

I cooked this. It is rather tasty!

I used ingredients on hand. I varied the amounts of the ingredients somewhat based on my tastes and preferences (increased the garlic, the ginger, the fish sauce, rice; used canned chicken breasts along with a couple of pieces of roughly chopped, skinned KFC left-over chicken; added finely chopped cilantro stems to the stock). I added fresh button mushrooms to the stock early on, which I needed to use up, along with coarsely chopped, Shanghai bok choi, which I also needed to use up and which I added 5 minutes before service.

After the stock came to a boil, I added the rice. There was no need to cook the chicken as the chicken I had on hand was already cooked (canned and left over). All told the cooking time was about 30 minutes, during which time, the mixture became very thick owing to the nature of the short grain rice, which was unrinsed. Aliquots of water were added as needed to loosen the mixture.

The bok choi added at the end retained much of the crunch and texture for the first service. I used one carton of chicken stock and made up the equivalent plus with water and a good deal of Tones Chicken base. The end product was not overly salty even though extra fish sauce, commercial carton of chicken stock and a lot of Tones Chicken base were used. In fact, I added a bit of salt to my portion during service.

I served it with green scallion tops, rough chopped cilantro leaves, and fresh lime juice. This dish greatly benefits from the acidity of the lime during service. I did not use the black pepper, preferring instead to add that at the table.

For later service, I plan to add a bit of daikon radish matchsticks garnish along with scallion and cilantro. The daikon will give some textural crunch as the bok choi will have cooked and lost it initial crisp texture.

The dish is low in calories owing to the ingredients and the amount of liquid used. I calculated that it is 0.69 cals/g or 69 cals/3.5 oz.

Vietnamese Rice Soup with Chicken (Cháo Gà) with mushrooms and bok choi

Ginger, fresh, large piece, peeled and chopped 51 g @ 0.8 cals/g = 41 cals
Garlic (6 cloves) 26 g @ 1.5 cals/g = 39 cals
Scallions (1 bunch) 31 g @ 0.38 cals/g = 12 cals
White button mushrooms fresh (1 package) 273 g @0.15 cals/g = 41 cals
Cilantro (1 bunch) 56 g @ 0.23 cals/g = 13 cals
Canned chicken breasts (1 can, drained) 222 g @ 0.94 cals/g = 200 cals
Skinned, chopped KFC chicken (drumstick and thigh, deboned) 119 g @~2.1 cals/g = 238 cals
Chicken Broth (1 carton) 906 g @ 0.02 cals/ g = 18 cals
Tones Chicken base (~ 3 tblsp) 35 g @ 2.5 cals/g = 88 cals
Fish Sauce (~1.5 tblsp) 13 g @ 0.33 cals/g = 4 cals
Kokuho Rose brand, short grain rice 490 g (~2 cups) @ 3.56 cals/g = 1,742 cals
Shanghai Bok Choi (~ 6-7 plants) 342 g @ 0.13 cals/g = 44 cals
Water ~ 1,100 g (~1.6 quarts) and as needed 0 cals
Final cooked weight 3,595 g Total calories 2,490 (from above) Calories per gram final = 0.69 or 69 calories/100 g or 3.5 oz

Craig B.

So in Vietnam don't they normally make this with broken rice and if so did you try coarsely chopped long grain rice from a spice grinder? Second question. Short-grain haiga rice is fine for this rice? Thanks

Lynn C.

Hi Craig -

Yes, in Vietnam they usually use broken long grain rice (usually Jasmine). We initially tried that in our recipe but found that switching to short grain rice yielded a similar texture without the extra step. We haven't tried it with haiga mai. Haiga mai is somewhere between white and brown rice - the bran is removed, but not the germ; which gives it the fast cooking time, tender texture, and easy digestibility of white rice while retaining the nutrition of brown rice. Haiga mai tends to maintain a firmer inner core that may not break down enough to yield the proper texture for the Chao ga, but it's definitely worth a try. Let us know how it goes if you decide to try it!

Best,
The Milk Street Team

Jennifer B.

I just followed the instructions, am not creative enough to riff. good heart chicken soup, manna from heaven during covid.

Susan B.

I loved the recipe! However, while it may not be authentic, next time I will use half the rice called for so it will be more souplike and lighter.