Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Porridge with Cilantro Ginger Oil

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This is the recipe to turn to if you’re ever feeling under the weather or like your digestive system needs a little break. It’s my take on the Chinese dish “congee”, which is a traditional rice porridge. Bone-in chicken and rice get pressure cooked and infused with fresh ginger and garlic for a rich, nutrient-dense, collagen-rich broth and a porridge-like texture. Cilantro, fresh ginger, sesame and soy sauce create a flavor-packed infused oil that gets drizzled over top. The toppings are entirely up to you, but I highly recommend seeking out kimchi and topping with a yolky egg. 

As a heads up, this recipe does take an hour and a half to cook (including time to pressure, cook time, and release time), but it’s mostly hands off. The texture is like porridge (mushy!), so if that doesn’t sound appealing to you, then skip it or just cut the recipe in half to try it out 🙂

Ingredient highlight

Kimchi! is a traditional fermented Korean food composed of various vegetables and seasonings. It often contains napa cabbage, chili peppers, ginger, garlic, and other seasonings. It varies in taste and spice level, but has a distinct funky, spicy flavor that cannot be replicated!

Like other fermented products, it is a great source of probiotics (good bacteria) to promote gut-health. Fermentation increases the bioavailability and absorption of many nutrients, so by fermenting cabbage, you’re getting an extra high dose of vitamin A and C.

Look for it in the refrigerated section of your grocery store where you would find other fermented products like sauerkraut (I know you can find it at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods!). Or order my favorite local brand Choi’s Kimchi online!

Stovetop method!
Cilantro Ginger Oil
This is kimchi and it’s delicious, especially in this recipe!
Servings 4
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 cups water
  • 1 cup jasmine rice, thoroughly rinsed
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 1- inch knob ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed or thinly sliced
  • 1 piece kombu (optional)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 lbs chicken drumsticks*
  • 4 cups chopped kale or other leafy green or 1-2 cups frozen spinach (optional)
  • 4 eggs, fried or boiled
  • Sriracha and/or kimchi**
  • Thinly sliced scallions or chopped cilantro (optional)
  • Sesame seeds (optional)

For the cilantro ginger oil:

  • ½ cup finely chopped cilantro (from about ½ bunch)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (or sub with soy sauce)
  • *Using bone-in chicken adds a lot more flavor and richness to the broth. You could use all drumsticks or thighs or a mix of both. If you don’t like bone-in chicken, you can also substitute with 1-1.5 lbs of boneless skinless thighs.
  • **Look for kimchi! It’s packed with nutrients and probiotics and adds so much flavor and a tangy crunch to this recipe. If you can’t find it or don’t like it, top with sriracha and plenty of the cilantro ginger oil.
  • Note: ~ Please note that the texture is mushy like porridge, which might not be for everyone. If that doesn’t sound appealing to you, then skip it or just cut the recipe in half to try it out 🙂

Instructions

  • In a 6-qt Instant Pot, add the water, rice, carrots, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, kombu (if using), and salt. Stir to combine, then place the chicken on top in an even layer.
  • Cover with the lid, set the valve to “sealing”, and pressure cook on high for 20 minutes (it will take about 20-25 minutes to come to pressure). Once the timer goes off, let it naturally release for 45 minutes, then manually release the rest of the pressure (the liquid/steam will be thick, so it may spurt/splatter – cover with a kitchen towel to prevent splatter).
  • Transfer the chicken to a cutting board to let it cool for a bit. Then remove the skin and shred it up with two forks (it should be fall-off-the-bone tender!).
  • Give the rice a stir. The rice should be broken down and very soft, almost porridge-like. If you’d like to add greens, now is the time to stir them in. If you want the porridge to be a thicker consistency, press “cancel” then press “saute” and simmer it for a few minutes.
  • Stir the chicken back into the pot.
  • To make the cilantro ginger oil, add all ingredients to a small bowl and stir to combine.
  • Serve the chicken and rice topped with an egg, cilantro ginger oil, sriracha or kimchi, more herbs (if using), and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Stovetop instructions:

  • In a large pot, add 8 cups water, rice, carrots, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, kombu (if using), and salt. Stir to combine, then place the chicken on top in an even layer.
  • Cover with a lid, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low to maintain a simmer for 1 hour, or until the chicken is very tender and rice has broken down and is very soft. Follow the rest of the recipe as is.

Items you can prep ahead (optional)

  • Chop 2 carrots
  • Thinly slice a 1-inch knob ginger
  • Smash or thinly slice 2 cloves garlic
  • Chop 4 cups kale or other leafy green or use 1-2 cups frozen spinach (optional)
  • Make the chicken and rice porridge
  • Boil 4 eggs (or fry them fresh) 
  • Make cilantro ginger oil

Substitutions:

  • To make vegetarian/vegan, skip the chicken all together and replace fish sauce with soy sauce. Chicken gives a lot of flavor to the rice, so to add more flavor, you could cook some onions first and/or add a bit more soy sauce, ginger, and garlic. You could top with two boiled or fried eggs, baked tofu, edamame, or any other protein of choice.
  • Use bone in thighs or boneless (see recipe note).
  • You could probably use brown rice, but it won’t be as “porridge-y” and will take longer to cook.
  • You could cook onion, celery, and carrot before adding everything else if you want more of a chicken soup-like flavor. 
  • Add some raw grated garlic to the cilantro ginger oil for a garlicky kick.

Storage:

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 2 months.

Leftovers + Repurposing:

  • Warm up leftovers on the stove or in the microwave until warmed through. Top with all the toppings.
  • I like to add a little splash of soy sauce and rice vinegar or squeeze of lemon/lime to leftovers to give them a little more flavor (in addition to adding the cilantro ginger oil). 
  • You can think of this as a base to add whatever toppings you have on hand (herbs, eggs, kimchi, sriracha, roasted veggies, extra greens, raw crunchy veggie slaw, etc…).
 

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