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This easy chicken rice porridge recipe is ubiquitous in Cambodia, and its iterations are a staple throughout Southeast and East Asia. Whether you’re on a leafy, bustling Phnom Penh boulevard or somewhere deep in the countryside, baw-baw sat’ moan is never far away. The chicken rice soup recipe below takes a bit of prep work (and creativity) but the result is a hearty, creamy feast for the senses. Your wallet will thank you, too, since this chicken rice porridge gets made with simple, widely available and inexpensive ingredients, and a large pot can last your family for several days.
Chicken Rice Porridge — Essentials
This rice soup may be a straightforward dish, but there are a few ingredients you must get right to achieve authentic flavour and consistency. Your choice of rice matters most.
Pick the Right Rice
To give this rice soup the correct, creamy texture, you’ll have to use white, long-grain rice. In Cambodia, Jasmine rice is the go-to pick for this recipe; however, any white, long-grain rice will do. Brown rice, wild rice, and any of the short-grain rice varieties – such as sushi rice – are not suitable. Likewise, please don’t attempt using leftover rice from the rice cooker to cook the porridge.
Use a Whole Chicken for the Broth
Using a whole chicken for this rice soup makes the most sense — you’ll need every part. The bone is absolutely essential if you want to end up with a rich stock, and so is the skin. Meanwhile, cooked chicken breasts, thighs, wings, legs, etc. — all of which you’ll eventually shred — produce a nice variety of flavour once you add them to the soup. You can also experiment by boiling the chicken in your own vegetable broth; doing so will infuse the soup with a deep aroma. However, plain, freshly boiled chicken stock will do just fine. Choose Your Toppings Think of this rice soup as a delicious blank canvas. Once the porridge is ready and you’ve built the base flavour, it’s up to you to turn this soup into your very own work of art by choosing toppings that appeal to your palate the most.
It’s up to you to turn this soup into your very own work of art by choosing toppings that appeal to your palate the most.
There’s a vast assortment of toppings you can choose. However, traditionally, this rice soup is topped with roasted garlic, soybean paste, hot chilli sauce, lime, green onions, julienned ginger, fish sauce, and black pepper. These are the toppings we will discuss below, but remember – you’re free to customize this soup as you see fit.
There are 3 main stages to this chicken rice soup recipe. First, you prepare the toppings; second, you boil the broth; and third, you finally, cook the soup. I know, it sounds like lots of hassle and really, really long cooking time. But if you’re willing to don your project manager’s hat for this cooking session, you can actually do a few of the tasks concurrently. For instance, you can prepare the toppings while the chicken stock simmers, or as you’re waiting for the rice porridge to be fully cooked. Prepare the Toppings While the chicken stock simmers away, you’ve got plenty of time to prepare the toppings.
Chicken Rice Soup: Cambodian Baw-Baw Sat' Moan
- 1 cup jasmine rice
- 1 whole chicken (roughly 1 kg)
- salt (to taste)
- 1 tsp MSG
- 1 lb bean sprouts
- 2 knobs ginger (about 2"), julienned
- 1 head garlic, minced
- 3 stalks onion, chopped
- black pepper (to taste)
- fermented soy beans (to taste)
- fish sauce (to taste)
- lime juice (to taste)
- hot chili sauce (to taste)
Prepare the Toppings
- Remove the skin from the ginger and julienne it. In the end, you should have thin strips, about an inch long and ⅛ of an inch wide.
- Peel the garlic, crush the cloves with the knife, then mince them finely.
- Heat a teaspoon of cooking oil in a frying pan over high heat; add garlic, turn the heat to medium, and fry the garlic until it browns (approximately 2 minutes). Stir the garlic often so that it doesn't burn.
- Wash the green onion stalks and chop them into ¼-inch pieces.
Cook the Soup
- Cooking the rice soup involves 2 separate steps:a) Preparing the brothb) Cooking the rice porridge
Prepare the Chicken Broth
- This step should take you about 50 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the package and wash it thoroughly, removing any giblets. Do not remove the skin.
- Fill ¾ of a 3-quart pot with water and set to boil on high heat.
- Once the water boils, immerse the chicken into the water and reduce the heat to medium.
- Add 1 tsp of salt.
- Allow the chicken to cook for 40 minutes on medium heat. With a spoon, skim any white foam that appears on the surface.
- After 40 minutes, turn the heat off and remove the chicken and place it on a plate.
- Set the chicken broth aside.
- Once the chicken cools, debone the meat and shred it into small bits
Cook the Rice Porridge
- The rice porridge takes about 40 minutes to cook.
- In another large soup pot, set 1.5 quarts of water to boil.
- Soak the bean sprouts and set aside.
- Rinse 1 cup of Jasmine rice with cold water.
- Roast the rice for 3 minutes on the same frying pan you used to fry the garlic earlier, stirring continuously, over medium heat. You shouldn't use any cooking oil for this procedure.
- Add the roasted rice to the boiling water and mix well.
- Add the chicken broth to the boiling water and mix well, allowing the mixture to boil before turning the stove down to medium/high heat.
- Add 1 tsp of MSG to the soup.
- Allow the rice to cook for 30 minutes, then add the shredded chicken to the soup and mix well.
- Allow the soup to simmer for 10 minutes.
- Rinse the bean sprouts and add them to the soup, then turn off the heat.
Serving the Rice Soup
With all the prep work and cooking out of the way, serving this rice soup is a breeze. Simple place a handful of washed bean sprouts into each bowl, then pour the soup over top. Finally, add the toppings of your choice, mix, and enjoy! If you’ve got leftovers, place them in a container and keep them in the fridge. The soup will keep and retain all its flavour for 3 days, so be sure to consume it within that time.
Do you cook rice before adding it to soup?
With this rice soup recipe, no — you don’t need to cook the rice separately before adding it to the soup. Instead, you use the chicken stock as a base for the rice porridge. However, you should roast the rice a little in a frying pan before cooking the rice porridge. Note that there are more soup recipes out there, and some of them may require you to cook the rice beforehand.
What is the best rice to use in soup?
For our chicken rice soup recipe, white long-grain rice is ideal. Jasmine is the variety of choice in Cambodia and surrounding Southeast Asian countries, but any white rice will do as long as it’s not a short-grain variety.
Also read: Beef shank and green papaya soup
Can you reheat chicken and rice soup?
Yes, absolutely — you can reheat chicken and rice soup that’s been sitting in the fridge. You can do so on the stove, or in the microwave. However, if you’re cooking rice soup using the recipe we shared above, you may want to prepare some fresh toppings instead of refrigerating those you haven’t finished — especially the green onions.
Can you cook rice in chicken broth?
Yes — in this recipe, you cook rice in the chicken broth you prepare first. Just make sure that you’ve roasted the rice first! You can find out how to cook rice in the chicken broth here.
Can I use medium-grain rice in soup?
No, medium-grain rice is not suitable for this chicken rice soup, and not ideal for most soups. Medium grain rice tends to be sticky, soft, and a bit chewy, which makes it perfect for dishes like Risotto and Paella. Likewise, medium-grain rice is popular the staple in East Asian cuisines. However, for this chicken rice soup recipe, you’ll want to use a long-grain rice, such as Jasmine.
Can you use brown rice in soup?
There are plenty of soup recipes that are based on brown rice, but this isn’t one of them. To achieve the creamy consistency this porridge demands, white rice is the ideal option. In fact, note that brown rice doesn’t see wide use in Southeast Asia, where white rice is far more dominant.
Can I boil frozen chicken?
According to the USDA, yes, you can safely boil frozen chicken. However, since the meat will be at a much lower temperature than if it were thawed, you’ll have to increase your cooking time by roughly 50%. This means that if you’re cooking the chicken rice soup recipe above, you’ll cook the chicken stock approximately 20 minutes longer. One thing to remember here is that sometimes, a whole chicken is sold with giblets inside. So, before you toss the frozen bird into the boiling water, make sure there’s nothing left inside.
Is Jasmine rice the same as basmati?
Both Jasmine and Basmati are types of white, long-grain, fragrant rice with a nutty aroma. That said, Jasmine is a bit shorter than Basmati, and when it cooks, it becomes noticeably softer and larger than Basmati. The latter, on the other hand, is a bit drier and thinner when cooked. Both Basmati and Jasmine rice enjoy immense popularity worldwide, with Basmati being the favourite in Indian and Pakistani cuisines, and Jasmine being the staple on tables across Southeast Asia.
Does Jasmine rice have arsenic?
All rice contains arsenic, whether it’s short, long, or medium-grain, white, or brown, conventional or organic. Jasmine rice is no exception — it also contains arsenic. However, brown rice has been found to contain almost 80% more arsenic than its white counterparts. That’s because most arsenic tends to stay in the grain’s outer layers, which white rice lacks. This means that Jasmine rice has a lower arsenic content than wild or brown rice. To be fair to brown rice, it’s got plenty of nutrients in its outer hull; white rice varieties like Jasmine and Basmati lack these.
What is the healthiest rice?
That’s really up for debate. Generally, brown rice is considered to be the healthiest, since its outer shell contains fiber, Calcium, Iron, and several antioxidants. That said, brown rice also packs the highest arsenic content of all rice types. Meanwhile, white rice varieties such as Jasmine and Basmati have the lowest arsenic content among different types of rice. If you’re cooking chicken rice soup following the method above, don’t worry. It may not pack as many nutrients as a wild rice soup, but it’s still a healthy soup recipe, with little saturated fat and a low sodium content.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this rice soup recipe! Have you tried making this soup? If so, how did your rice soup turn out? Is there any other rice soup recipe you’d like to share with our readers? If so, please leave a comment below!