Dad’s Chicken and Rice Soup

It’s raining and 40 degrees here in Virginia, which reminds me of home. Oregon never really lent itself to staying dry, but it did provide great and many opportunities to hole up inside next to the fire with a steaming mug full of soup. My dad would make this fragrant and hearty porridge for us on such days, as well as whenever we were sick, and it quickly became a Ly family comfort food.
I always despised anything that had the word “porridge” in it, probably from growing up having oatmeal for breakfast But that’s probably the most accurate word I can use to describe the consistency of this soup. It’s not “soupy” per se, but it definitely needs to be eaten from a bowl.
2 quarts of water, set on the stove to boil
1 chicken leg (with the bone) or 2 large drumsticks
2-inch piece of fresh ginger root
5-6 cloves of fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon Pepper
1 tablespoon fish sauce
3/4 – 1 cup white jasmine rice
Put water on the stove in a medium soup pan over high heat. Rinse and clean the chicken; I usually take the skin and excess fat off, then place it in the water (the water doesn’t have to be boiling yet).
Peel and crush the garlic, peel the ginger root and cut into 3/4 square inch pieces; drop into the soup. This adds not only nutrients, but it really pulls the soup together and tends to get rid of the watery taste. I wouldn’t recommend eating these, but you can if you dare.
Add the fish sauce and pepper, then cover and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to a simmer/low boil, and cook until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
At this point, you can taste it, and add any additional salt/pepper/fish sauce that it may need.
Stir in the rice. I don’t think I have ever measured the rice when I put it in, so that’s why I used the 3/4-1 cup range. If you like it thick, put more; if you like it thinner, put less. Remember that rice expands three times the size of it in its dry state, so once it’s cooked, it’ll fill in a lot more than it looks initially.
Simmer until it is thick and the chicken meat falls off the bone. Remove from heat, de-bone the chicken into bite sized pieces, and serve in a big cozy bowl that fits in your hands well. Fresh basil is a perfect garnish, and adds a wonderful aroma and flavor as well.
EDIT: you don’t HAVE to use fish sauce if you don’t want… you can substitute it with a bunch more salt. (Fish sauce is verrry salty)

3 responses to “Dad’s Chicken and Rice Soup

  1. Muy gracias. Hmmm…i wonder if a homemade substitute can be made…after all, these are lean economic times, & Wal-mart sells lil' live feeshies for only 10 cents each…..:P

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