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Vietnamese rice porridge (chao): a nutrient-rich culinary classic

24/01/2024 5.045

Vietnamese rice porridge (or chao) embodies the heartwarming essence of the country's food culture. This humble yet flavorsome dish has secured a special place on the tables of locals and international food enthusiasts.

Vietnamese rice porridge

Vietnamese rice porridge is one of the delicious Vietnamese foods that you should not miss out on during your Vietnam trip. More than a mere dish, this humble porridge embodies centuries of cultural heritage and flavors that have nourished generations. Let’s delve into our 5 must-try Vietnamese porridge recipes that captivate taste buds and evoke a sense of home-cooked warmth.

1. A glance at Vietnamese rice porridge

Rooted in the traditions of various ethnic groups across East Asia and Southeast Asia, rice porridge is a simple yet soul-nourishing dish that embodies myriad meanings and cultural significance. In Vietnam, it holds an important place as a comforting remedy for the sick and a nutritious option for the elderly and children.

Beyond its culinary essence, Vietnamese rice porridge is embedded in various idioms and phrases such as ‘’ăn cháo đá bát’’ (depicting ungrateful behavior), "ăn một bát cháo chạy ba quãng đồng" (signifying disproportionate outcomes to efforts invested), ‘’nấu cháo điện thoại’’ (an excessive amount of time on the phone), and so on.

Vietnamese rice porridge

The preparation of Vietnamese rice porridge is fundamentally simple, requiring rice and water as the core ingredients, yet it carries nuanced techniques that elevate its taste and texture. Here are some tips on how to make Vietnamese rice porridge:

  • Blend sticky rice with regular rice for a creamier texture and richer aroma.
  • Soak rice before cooking for a smoother consistency.
  • Refrain from excessive stirring during cooking to maintain the desired texture.
  • Enhance the depth of flavor by adding ginger, chicken, pork, or seafood.

>>> Explore mouth-watering Vietnamese soup to enrich your dining experience!

2. Health benefits of Vietnamese rice porridge

Adding Vietnamese rice porridge to your diet not only offers a taste of authentic Vietnamese cuisine but also brings many health benefits:

  • Easily digestible: The soft texture of Vietnamese rice porridge aids digestion and soothes gastrointestinal discomfort.
  • Nutrient-rich: Despite its simplicity, it offers a balanced mix of nutrients, including carbohydrates from rice, protein from ingredients like chicken or seafood, and essential vitamins from additions like ginger, vegetables, and herbs.
  • Hydration and satiety: Its water-based preparation helps maintain hydration levels, which is especially beneficial during illnesses.
  • Low in fat: Vietnamese rice porridge is typically low in fat, especially when prepared with lean proteins and minimal oils. This makes it a heart-friendly option, suitable for those monitoring their fat intake.

>>> Discover the delightful depths of Vietnamese cuisine with the top 11 healthy and nutritious Vietnamese vegetable soups!

Vietnamese rice porridge

3. Top 5 popular Vietnamese rice porridge recipes

3.1. Vietnamese ground pork porridge

Vietnamese ground pork porridge (chao thit bam) is a popular choice for breakfast or as a light meal, offering a delightful medley of textures and flavors. Here is how you can make this dish for your loved ones:

Ingredients:

  • 1 small bowl of white rice
  • 100g minced pork shoulder
  • 1 carrot
  • Scallions, cilantro
  • Fish sauce, salt, pepper, seasoning powder

Instructions:

  • Marinate the minced pork with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon seasoning powder, chopped scallions, and pepper for 15 minutes.
  • Rinse the rice thoroughly, then toast it in a pan over low heat until it turns an even, light golden color.
  • Boil a pot of water. Once boiling, add the toasted rice until the rice thickens. Then, add the diced carrots to the pot.
  • Once the carrots are soft, add the marinated pork to the pot, stir until the pork is fully cooked, and then turn off the heat.
Vietnamese rice porridge

3.2. Vietnamese chicken rice porridge

Vietnamese chicken porridge (chao ga) embodies the essence of Vietnamese comfort food, offering a delightful blend of tender chicken, aromatic herbs, and flavorful rice. Follow these steps to recreate this comforting taste in your own kitchen:

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken (cleaned with salt)
  • 1/3 cup of white wine
  • 2 cups of glutinous rice (soaked for 1 hour before cooking)
  • Sliced spring onions, ginger, garlic
  • 2 leeks (using only the white bulbs, cut into chunks)
  • 1 small carrot (peeled and finely diced)
  • 6 jujubes
  • Salt, pepper

Instructions:

  • In a large pot, place the cleaned chicken and add water, white leek bulbs, jujubes, ginger, minced garlic, and white wine.
  • Bring to a boil, then simmer on low heat for about 40 minutes until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.
  • Remove the chicken from the broth, let it cool, separate the meat from the bones, and shred the chicken into small pieces.
  • Bring the chicken broth to a boil again, add the soaked glutinous rice, and season with salt. Cook until the rice turns soft and sticky.
  • Keep the porridge simmering on low heat and stir occasionally to prevent overflowing.
  • Once the rice is fully cooked and sticky, add the shredded chicken to the pot, season to taste, and add the diced carrots and sliced spring onions. Cook until the carrots are tender.
Vietnamese rice porridge

3.3. Vietnamese pork offal porridge

Embark on a culinary journey and recreate the authentic flavors of Vietnamese cuisine with the time-honored recipe for Vietnamese pork offal porridge (chao long). This cherished dish presents a rich combination of assorted pork offal, rice, and aromatic herbs, delivering a savory and deeply satisfying taste experience.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 bowl glutinous rice
  • 1/2 bowl regular rice
  • 500g pork bones
  • 1 pork tongue
  • 100g pork liver
  • 200g pork intestines, lungs, stomach (adjust amounts as desired)
  • 3 liters of water
  • Spring onions, shallots, ginger 
  • Fish sauce, salt, pepper, vinegar 
  • Coriander, Vietnamese balm, bean sprouts, chili for garnish

Instructions:

  • Prepare the ingredients:
    • Clean pork bones and blanch them with shallots to remove impurities.
    • Trim and blanch the pork tongue along with the bones.
    • Clean the pork offal by removing excess fat and soaking it in saltwater multiple times.
  • Mix cleaned pork offal, pork blood, pork fat, pork skin, lime leaves, Vietnamese balm, chopped spring onions, lemongrass, garlic, chili, and crushed roasted peanuts. 
  • Stuff the mixture into the pork intestines, tie the ends tightly, and boil until cooked, then slice thinly.
  • Cut the pork offal into two parts. Simmer one part with the porridge and reserve the other for serving on the side.
  • Blanch the remaining pork offal separately in boiling water with ginger, vinegar, and salt to remove unwanted odors. Slice thinly and arrange on a plate.
  • Clean the rice thoroughly, soak for an hour, drain, and cook in water until it reaches a thick porridge consistency.
  • Add the portion of pork offal prepared for the porridge, ginger paste, and season to taste. Simmer until the rice becomes smooth and creamy.
  • Serve the porridge into bowls, garnish with chopped spring onions, and pepper, alongside a plate of sliced pork offal, fresh herbs, bean sprouts, and chili.
Vietnamese rice porridge

3.4. Vietnamese shrimp rice porridge

Vietnamese shrimp porridge (chao tom) stands as a delightful and easy-to-make dish yet flavorsome, filled with aromatic rice and succulent shrimp, making it a comforting choice for a hearty meal. Here is how you can prepare this soul-soothing Vietnamese rice porridge:

Ingredients:

  • 100g shrimp
  • 1/2 cup rice (rinsed)
  • Chopped spring onions for garnish
  • Salt, sugar, chicken or vegetable broth powder, ground pepper

Instructions:

  • Remove the shrimp heads, then peel and devein them. Set aside the shrimp meat and clean the shells thoroughly.
  • Toast the rice in a pan over low heat until it turns slightly golden.
  • Boil 300 milliliters of water with the shrimp heads, shells, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt for approximately 10 minutes to extract shrimp essence.
  • Remove the shrimp heads and shells, and add 200 milliliters of water and toasted rice to the pot. Cook for 20 minutes over medium heat until the rice grains are soft. 
  • Once desired consistency is reached, add shrimp meat, stir well, and season with 1 teaspoon chicken stock, 1 teaspoon sugar, and 1/3 teaspoon chicken stock powder. 
  • Serve the porridge in bowls and garnish with chopped spring onions and a sprinkle of ground pepper.
Vietnamese rice porridge

3.5. Vietnamese beef rice porridge

When embarking on a culinary journey into Vietnamese cuisine, one cannot overlook the heartwarming delight of Vietnamese beef porridge. This hearty dish presents a harmonious blend of tender beef, fragrant herbs, and perfectly cooked rice in a comforting porridge. Here is a concise guide to making this flavorful dish:

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg beef ribs
  • 1 kg pork bones
  • 500g tender beef meat
  • 200g jasmine rice and 50g glutinous rice (rinsed)
  • 50g aged ginger (peeled and sliced)
  • 5 shallots
  • Spring onions, perilla leaves
  • Fish sauce, salt, pepper, sugar, seasoning powder

Instructions:

  • Rinse the beef ribs and pork bones and chop them into smaller pieces.
  • Simmer pork and beef bones in 4 liters of water for about 2 hours over low heat. Add a pinch of salt and frequently remove any impurities for clear broth.
  • Wash the tender beef meat, slice thinly, and marinate with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon seasoning powder, 2 tablespoons fish sauce, finely chopped shallots, and a pinch of pepper.
  • Sauté the thinly sliced shallots with 2 tablespoons of cooking oil until fragrant
  • Strain the broth and pour it into a pot. Add the rice and cook until soft.
  • Add sliced ginger, 4 tablespoons fish sauce, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon seasoning powder, and a pinch of pepper to the porridge.
  • Once the porridge boils, add the marinated beef and stir until fully cooked.
  • Remove the pot from heat and add the sautéed shallots to the porridge.

>>> Check out 6 Vietnamese chicken soup variations you should try!

Vietnamese rice porridge

4. What is Vietnamese rice porridge usually served with?

Vietnamese rice porridge is usually served with a diverse array of accompaniments that beautifully complement its flavors and textures. For Vietnamese plain rice porridge, common accompaniments include condiments like sugar or salt, allowing for personalized flavor adjustments. It also harmonizes with savory toppings such as shredded pork skin, salted duck eggs, or preserved duck eggs, adding layers of richness to the dish.

When prepared with meats, Vietnamese rice porridge can be enjoyed alongside Vietnamese vegetables, such as pickled vegetables, an essential element in many Vietnamese dishes, enhancing the meal with tangy and refreshing flavors.

>>> Enhance your culinary journey with the TOP 12 popular Vietnamese dishes!

Vietnamese rice porridge

Beyond being a simple dish made of rice and water, Vietnamese rice porridge embodies cultural heritage and a tapestry of flavors deeply rooted in Vietnam's culinary traditions. This rustic dish not only tastes delicious, but it is also the childhood comfort dish of many Vietnamese people, the dish that reminds them of familial values.

To truly experience the essence of Vietnamese gastronomy, embarking on a culinary journey to Vietnam's bustling cities and serene landscapes is a must. Don’t forget to visit attractions like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hoi An, and Ha Long

When indulging in these culinary adventures, consider staying at Vinpearl's exquisite hotels and resorts, which offer an opulent blend of luxurious, scenic-view accommodations and world-class amenities, including gyms, spas, swimming pools, bars, restaurants, and so on. For those looking for entertainment, make sure to check out thrilling games and interesting shows at VinWonders

Vietnamese rice porridge

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