By: Ilona Salim
I used to dislike porridge. It was definitely nothing against rice - because I LOVE rice. It was simply because my mom would always feed me porridge when I was sick. I had a lot of stomach issues growing up so I unconsciously developed this connection between sickness and porridge. Sick = BLAND porridge. All throughout my childhood, I was baffled when I witnessed my family and friends enjoy porridge on a healthy day. I would ask myself “Why would they eat something so bland when they didn’t have to?” Until one day, I came across this version of Indonesian porridge, served with yellow chicken soup. They started selling this dish in school when I started 7th grade.
I would watch one of the lunch servers sink his ladle into a deep pot of steaming fragrant soup - turmeric yellow in color indicative of all the seasonings packed into it. He would then grab a handful of kerupuk (rice crackers) to place on top. "hold on, I'm not done," he would reply to the grumbling bellies of his buyer. He sprinkled on some fried shallots, fried peanuts and chopped green onions. Lastly, to finish off, he would ask if his hungry buyer wanted a drizzle of sweet soy sauce and chilli. I was hesitant at first, but the more I saw my friends enjoyed this dish (especially with all the fun toppings), the more tempted I was to try. Predictably enough, it shocked my biased taste buds. I would have never imagined a porridge dish to pack such a punch. Then and there, in that humble bowl, my relationship with porridge began.
Porridge now holds a special place in my heart. It reminds me of my mom and brings me this nostalgic feeling of home.
The Recipe -- Indonesian Porridge with Yellow Chicken Soup
Recipe Inspired by #What To Cook Today!
200 gr Nishiki short grain rice
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp of chicken bouillon
1/2 tsp salt
2 lbs skinless chicken thighs
1 packet of Soto Ayam/Indonesian Yellow Chicken Soup Packet (click on link to see the one we used!)
Chinese fried doughnuts
Sweet soy sauce
First of all, let us prepare the chicken stock. Boil 1L of water in a large pot.
Once it reaches a boil, add in your chicken thighs. Add a ½ tsp of salt and let the chicken cook. I let it simmer for 30 or so minutes, to get the flavor into the stock. Take the chicken out of the pot.
Next, wash 200 grams of Jasmine Rice thoroughly. Drain water.
In a new clean pot, add your chicken stock. Ideally you would want 1000 mL, but if lacking, add water.
Bring to boil.
Add your rice, 2 bay leaves, 1 tbsp of chicken bouillon. Let cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Check the consistency and adjust accordingly. If you like a thinned porridge, add more water.
While the porridge cooks, shred your chicken thighs.
Start on the soup by adding a bit of oil into your pot and saute-ing the seasoning packet.
Once fragrant, add in your shredded chicken. Cook for about 1-2 minutes. Then add water (the packet instruction should say how much water, differs for different brands).
Bring to boil and then your soup is ready to serve!
To plate, you want to place your porridge first, then add the chicken soup accordingly. I also added my favorite toppings - fried chinese doughnuts, tapioca crackers, fried shallots, sweet soy sauce and some chilli!